Kaiser Permanente recognizes Safety Nets as essential community partners in our shared goal of improving the health of individuals and communities, and we’re committed to supporting them.
Through continuing medical education, we have provided access to accredited courses to more than 100 Safety Net providers. We are collaborating with Safety Nets to address pediatric, teen, and adult obesity. We also work to increase access to care in addition to sharing various resources — multilingual health education materials, informational webinars, and courses on disease management and behavior change.
Federally qualified health centers, community-funded clinics, and rural health clinics are vital parts of Colorado’s health care Safety Net, to provide quality care for the state’s most vulnerable populations. The strength of the Safety Net continues to be tested as demand for services grows, particularly from individuals enrolled in Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus, as well as those who are uninsured.
We support Safety Nets in a variety of ways including:
- Increasing access to care
- Improving Safety Net capacity
- Integrating community services to clinics
- Sharing best practices, insights, and assets
As changes in health care policy unfold, we look forward to enhancing and furthering our partnerships and support of our state’s health care Safety Net.
Access to Care
Primary Care Access
Recognizing the shortage of primary care providers in the state, we invest in and promote a long-term clinical program to place physicians, physician assistants, and nurses into Safety Net clinics. Each of these professionals may serve up to 96 hours per year to deliver care directly to patients.
Specialty Care Access
Our Safety Net Specialty Care Program allows Safety Net primary care providers to electronically request advice (e-consult) with select Kaiser Permanente specialists regarding their uninsured adult patients. The program also provides specific face-to-face specialty care visits for Safety Net patients and offers opportunities for medical education to Safety Net providers.
Thanks to the one hundred specialists across Allergy/Immunology, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pulmonology, and Rheumatology that are currently participating in the program – our resources are available to over 200 primary care providers in the Safety Net at Clinica Family Health Services, Metro Community Provider Network, Salud Family Health Centers, Inner City Health Center, Clinica Tepeyac, Summit Community Care Clinic, Mission Medical Clinic, and Mountain Family Health Centers.
Since the program’s inception (March 2013), over 2,000 e-consults have been responded to, almost 600 face-to-face visits have been provided, and 8 medical education opportunities have been offered. The program has contributed to the care of over 1,500 unique patients, many of whom would have likely sought care at an emergency department or gone without care altogether. One patient described their limited options in accessing specialty care and that specialty care services were prohibitively expensive: “I did not have money, I did not have insurance. … I was falling into a depression, and they took me out of it.”
This Safety Net Specialty Care Program responds to one of the needs (access to primary and specialty care) identified in our Community Health Needs Assessment. Read the evaluation of the program’s first 20 months, featured in the current Permanente Journal.
Continuing Medical Education
In collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a leading, independent, international nonprofit organization, we award scholarships that allow Safety Net leaders to attend IHI conferences for training and learning opportunities. Additionally, scholarships are awarded to Safety Net clinics for staff to attend and present at the Center for Care Innovation’s Safety Net Innovation Network. IHI is a leading innovator in health care improvement worldwide. We share their core belief that everyone should get the best health care possible.
Care Equity Project
Partnerships with the health care Safety Net are critical to providing equal access to health care regardless of race, ethnicity, or income level. We’re dedicated to improving clinical care for racial and ethnic populations and to promoting good health for the communities we serve. In 2011, we created the Care Equity Project (CEP) to address cultural disparities during clinical visits. With increasing numbers of Americans living in poverty, the Arts Integrated Resources department collaborates with Safety Net partners to assist care providers in understanding the health needs and challenges of people living with limited financial resources. CEP presents Loose Change and On Empty, theatrical productions of people living with limited financial resources and the challenges they face in health care settings or simply getting food for themselves and their family. The plays raise awareness and sets the stage for discussion and educational workshops. The program also includes a series of four educational workshops that provide experiential activities to increase knowledge, develop skills, address bias, and promote equitable and empathetic health care.
Community to Clinic Integration
We recently awarded 13 grantees to work on decreasing food insecurity—specifically 10 to increase enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) and three to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Three grantees are Safety Nets working on SNAP enrollment: SET Family Clinics, Doctors Care, and Children’s Hospital. Grants began in March 2016 and will continue through March 2018.
Weigh and Win
In 2017 and 2018, we plan to fund placement of Weigh and Win weight loss kiosks in up to 10 safety net clinics. The kiosks allow patients to enroll in a free, technologically driven, patient self-efficacy program that includes dynamic feedback and goal setting, optional enrollment in daily dietary and exercise reminders, as well as financial rewards for achieving sustained weight loss. The kiosks will be placed in locations that are the most accessible for their patient population. Evaluation of this project will include linking weight loss achievements to clinical outcomes, heightening self-efficacy to lead to overall improvement of illness burden, and/or driving process improvements in obesity treatment and prevention.