Norfolk, Va.-based Sentara Healthcare announces the impending launch of a new model of care focusing on uninsured and Medicaid populations in under-resourced communities across Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
New community care centers will be operated by Sentara Health Plans (Optima Health and Virginia Premier) and will pair health professionals from Sentara and other health systems with community partners to focus on health disparity gaps; deliver preventative, comprehensive primary care; provide behavioral health services and offer wrap-around services that address social determinants of health. Sentara is targeting multiple community care locations by the end of 2022 with plans for future growth in 2023.
Sentara, which operates more than 100 sites of care, including 12 acute-care hospitals across Virginia and Northeast North Carolina, said it developed this new model of care through a community-driven approach, using feedback from community and faith-based leaders to better identify and understand the community’s needs and establishing partnerships to support them.
In addition, Sentara combined geographic information system (GIS) technology with de-identified patient and member information to prioritize populations with the greatest needs and insufficient access to healthcare and community services. To address these findings, the locations of the community care centers are being selected to facilitate access to care and improve health outcomes in the communities that need it most. New community care access models are scheduled to launch in Hampton Roads this summer, with additional locations planned throughout the communities Sentara serves:
• Mobile Health Bus: This model of care supports individuals struggling with traditional healthcare barriers: transportation and time constraints.
• Embedded Neighborhood: The embedded neighborhood clinics will use space in affordable housing complexes to provide care.
• Homeless Residential Program: Sentara is partnering with unsheltered residential programs to provide placement for discharged homeless patients from Sentara hospitals.
“To truly drive measurable change and advance health equity in the communities we serve, we must focus on addressing the root factors that greatly influence a person’s health and well-being beyond the care that we deliver inside of our medical facilities,” said Jordan Asher, M.D., executive vice president and chief physician executive at Sentara, in a statement. “Through this initiative, we will continue to work in and with the community to dismantle barriers to healthcare services and provide greater levels of access to vital community resources.”
Dennis Matheis, president of Sentara Health Plans and executive vice president of Sentara Healthcare, added that its integrated system combines a variety of care locations such as hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and at-home care with its health insurance plans that allows Sentara to look at the whole spectrum of care.
The goals of this initiative are to:
• Build trust and improve relationships with our patients who have challenges obtaining care;
• Evaluate local community health needs and design services to fulfill them;
• Expand neighborhood health care through mobile clinics, flexible hours, and telehealth services; and
• Develop programs to manage common diseases and expand preventative services.