In recognition of National Primary Care Week (Oct. 5-9), we at Comagine Health want to extend a message of sincere gratitude to the primary care teams serving patients in our region. The work you do is invaluable to closing care gaps and keeping our communities healthy. This year has brought the additional challenges of a pandemic, and many practices have had to adapt policies, procedures and methodologies to meet patient needs and keep staff safe. We want to thank you for your tireless efforts and offer our support wherever possible to ensure the continuity and quality of care you provide.
You have quickly learned new technologies, coding practices and workflows to deliver telehealth and virtual services to your patients. At Comagine Health, we have tools and resources to support you in building sustainable structures for these services and to help you increase access to care. Please reach out and let us know what barriers and successes you’ve experienced so we can amplify and aid you in finding solutions.
You have done a tremendous amount of work to develop the outpatient care model and grow to meet the needs of your patients. Comagine Health knows that the primary care team has evolved over the past few decades. And that keeping team-based care strong in a virtual environment is challenging. We are here to share promising practices. We know this time has been difficult for you and hope you are able to find time to take care of yourselves and your team members.
We also want to call out just some of the unique ways each team member has contributed to transforming primary care and encourage you to contact us if there are tools or resources we can offer to support your role.
- Providers have continued to lead and champion transformation efforts during this challenging time. As you know, COVID-19 will have long-term impacts on the health of your patients and the way you practice care. Think of us as your partners in the long haul to ensure your whole team has the updated guidance and tools they need to succeed.
- Medical assistants have taken on bigger roles and responsibilities. You have stepped up to do more than just patient rooming. For example, many of you are playing a greater part in population health management with chart scrubbing, pre-visit planning and outreach. These tasks continue to be critical in a virtual environment so patients don’t fall through the cracks. Your work to support the care team and your patients is immeasurable.
- Nurses and care managers are vital to the care of those with complex chronic diseases, as COVID-19 poses an additional risk. Your careful monitoring and support of these patients in a virtual environment is helping save lives. Comagine Health is by your side to help you serve the most vulnerable.
- Front desk staff have had to navigate new and changing infection prevention protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. And many of you have taken on the role of helping patients set up and test a telehealth technology platform in advance of a virtual visit.
- Billing and coding staff have had to quickly learn new and rapidly changing billing guidance in the wake of a pandemic. Your dedication and resiliency keeps your clinics running with revenue uncertainty.
- Behavioral health specialists understand how mental health impacts physical health, especially amid periods of high stress and isolation. Your expertise is integral to delivering whole-person care in a primary care setting. As a member of the clinical team, your coordination provides patients the opportunity to recover and thrive. Your training in the treatment of anxiety and depression symptoms, referral to systems that provide resources for social determinants of health and skilled crisis response interventions are essential to effective patient care during a pandemic.
- Clinical pharmacists have been helping patients with chronic diseases manage their care and avoid adverse drug events. We are committed to supporting your efforts in the outpatient setting.
- Patients are such a critical component of the primary care team. We continue to support effective methods of engaging patients and families in health care transformation work.
We want you to know that throughout the pandemic and beyond, Comagine Health will be here to support primary care teams as best we can with curated and developed resources as well as just-in-time education. To learn more about how we can help, please visit comagine.org/program/partnership.
Bre Holt, MPH
Senior Director, Practice Transformation
Sarah Woolsey, M.D., MPH
Clinical Director, Systemwide Quality Improvement