May 6, 2022
Community care centers designed to improve access to care and address social determinants of health
Sentara Healthcare announces the impending launch of a new, innovative model of care focusing on uninsured and Medicaid populations in under-resourced communitiesacross Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. These 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 developed this new model of care through a community-driven approach, utilizing 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.
“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 Dr. Jordan Asher, executive vice president and chief physician executive at Sentara. “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.”
“It is critical that we come together and invest needed resources to build stronger, healthier, more equitable communities,” said Dennis Matheis, president of Sentara Health Plans and executive vice president of Sentara Healthcare. “This model does just that and is a testament to the benefits of Sentara’s integrated delivery network. Our integrated system combines a variety of care locations such as hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and at-home care with our health insurance plans to allow us to look at the whole spectrum of care — with patients and communities at the center.”
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.
Dr. Keith Newby and Iris Lundy, RN, Sentara’s directors of health equity, have been diligent in the development of this innovative approach to healthcare delivery. “These centers will touch individuals in a way that has not been previously attempted,” Newby said. “Integrating both clinical medicine and, equally if not as important, lifestyle modification and mental health assistance gives a broader approach to what is needed to improve our patients’ health and well-being. These centers will assist in achieving the goal of enhancing the concept of true health equity.”
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 utilize space in affordable housing complexes to provide care for our most vulnerable neighbors.
- Homeless Residential Program: Sentara is partnering with unsheltered residential programs to provide placement for discharged homeless patients from Sentara hospitals.
Visit Sentara Cares to learn more about how Sentara is partnering with community organizations and faith-based leaders to improve public health and reduce health inequities.