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FALL 2009

In This Issue: Erie Helping Hands Opening • Funder Feature Family and Community Health Residency Program • H1N1 Q&A

spot light 2009 ERIE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS: William G. Kistner, Chair Northwestern Memorial Hospital Daniel J. Tounsel, Vice Chair Northwestern Memorial Hospital Eric Mayeda, Treasurer The Chartis Group Angelica Gomez, Secretary Association House DIRECTORS: Matthew Aaronson, Boston Consulting Group Rosalie Alicea, Associated Bank Celeste Castillo Jacqueline Cervantes Michael Cole, UnitedHealthcare of Illinois Linda Cushman, Hewitt Associates Pilar Gonzalez Maria Hernandez Marcelo Jarmendia, Brazil in Chicago, Inc. Luis Leon Amelia Madrigal Brian P. Marsella, Aetna, Inc. Michael O’Connor, Aon Corporation Rev. Edward Sarden, Christian Church Center Jill Simon Svoboda Ana Maria Soto, National-Louis University Darryl Tom, Gonzalez, Saggio &Harlan, LLC Humberto Uribe, Malcolm X College Katherine Wilson Deborah B. Wright-Powell, Hinsdale Central High School Julie Zerwic, University of Illinois at Chicago

New Erie Helping Hands Health Center Opened on October 26 Changing lives for the better is what Erie’s new, expanded health center is all about. Designed with the Erie family – including patients, families and staff – in mind, the new health center inspires positive transformation for all who passed through the doors on October 26, the official opening day of Erie Helping Hands at 4547 N. Kedzie Avenue. For Erie’s patients and their families, we promise comfort and healing by offering 17 spacious With the support of funders, including exam rooms, twice the number of the previous Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, site, covering over 8,500 square feet. “This move Erie Helping Hands offers services to is a validation of Erie’s commitment to providing patients in over13,000 visits. Read quality care to our patients and provides a sense of more on page 2 of Spotlight. pride in our center as a community project,” says Nori Santigo, Manager of Clinical Operations at Erie Helping Hands. For Erie staff, we promise a state-of-the-art facility utilizing breakthrough technology, enhanced facilities and an intelligent design to maximize efficiency in patient care. Located in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, the new facility is situated on the corner of Kedzie and Lawrence, one building down the former location of the Health Center. Its design will ensure it meets the unique requirements of health care providers and the patients Erie serves. Erie Helping Hands Health Center aims to serve its patients by providing high quality health care and treatment including Adult and Senior Services, Women’s Health Services, Behavioral Health Counseling, Case Management, Health and Wellness Programs, Children’s Health Services and Prenatal Health Services. Not only will the expanded site help patients with their health needs and concerns, but provide educational and outreach programs. Erie Helping Hands opened its doors to patients on October 26. Look for additional information regarding the official grand opening ceremony taking place in early 2010. We look forward to seeing friends of Erie at the celebration to tour the facility and see first-hand the newest addition to Erie’s network of health care.

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spot light A Message from Erie’s CEO and President, Dr. Lee Francis

People keep asking me about the future of community health centers like Erie if Congress passes a health care reform bill. Will health centers need to exist at all if most Americans have health insurance? One thing is clear. There is not enough primary care capacity in the United States to handle millions who start to seek health care. Community health centers already serve 19 million and, since they are nested in communities and provide high quality health care, are well positioned to meet the demand health care reform might create.


Two of the key provisions in the House and Senate health care bills currently on Capitol Hill will favorably affect health centers. First, health centers are granted “Essential Community Provider Status.” It sounds complicated, but this ensures

health centers’ participation in any current or newly created insurance. This would guarantee our patients, regardless of their insurance plan, have access to a community health center in their neighborhood. Second, both Senate and House health care reform bills provide for the expansion of health centers to help meet future need. If health centers can double capacity to 38 million by 2016, it will be a solid answer to the lack of primary care capacity and will place health centers in the center of successful health care reform. Not only will health centers merely exist. They can be a centerpiece of bringing community-based health care to millions more. Health care reform or not, your generosity will continue to play a critical role. Your support helps Erie launch new, innovative, cost-effective health programs and technology to improve the health status of the most vulnerable. It is with your support that

we launched innovative programs like Centering Pregnancy, and help expand an Electronic Health Record System across all Erie sites. No matter what type of health care reform goes through, there will always be vulnerable people that fall through the cracks; Erie will always need you to help us reach the next level of quality and innovation. In this issue of Spotlight, we feature some new and exciting accomplishments at Erie. Even in tough economic times, we are developing and launching new programs, receiving national recognition for quality services and working with funders to enhance our primary care services with new facilities. As always, we thank you for joining us in our march and for supporting Erie Family Health Center.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois (BCBSIL) works every day for families and individuals looking for affordable ways to take care of their health, without sacrificing quality. They are the largest and most experienced health insurance company in the state of Illinois and help to provide 6.5 million members with comprehensive and affordable health care plans. BCBSIL has funded around 350 non-profit organizations in the last year. In 2009, BCBSIL awarded Erie Family Health Center with a $66,750 grant to support the Women’s Health and Diabetes Programs at the expanded Erie Helping Hands Center in Albany Park. The assistance from BCBSIL will help bring breast and cervical cancer screenings as well as educational outreach to Erie Helping Hand’s predominately lowincome, Latino patients. Funding also will help to promote diabetes self-management education through on-site diabetes educators. The primary focus of Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois’ support is for programs addressingg health and wellness, health care accessibility for the medically under-served, and health and human service organizations.

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Erie Introduces New Family and Community Health Residency Program in 2010 Erie Family Health Center is excited to announce it will be launching a new Family and Community Health Residency Program in 2010. The Program will be a partnership between Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Erie Family Health Center and Norwegian American Hospital. This unique collaboration will be the first of its kind in the Chicago metro area and one of only a few in the United States. “The partnership is going to be a powerful combination for creating an excellent learning environment,” says Dr. David Buchanan, Chief Medical Officer at Erie.

Beginning in July 2010, Erie Humboldt Park Health Center will serve as the core training ground for the program. It will be home to eight residents every year—a total of 24 residents and associated faculty when the program is in full swing.

The Residency Program will have many profound impacts. “Historically, family medicine programs are hospital or university based, which is not always a perfect match in terms of values, interests and orientation for training,” says Buchanan.

Erie’s family practice providers will supervise the residents and be their primary teachers. This program will give residents the opportunity to work at Erie while having the resources of Northwestern at their finger tips. Residents will do their primary hospital rotations at Norwegian and have access to specialty rotations at Northwestern and Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Now, family practice physicians will get hands on experience at Erie to help develop cultural competency skills and the ability to address health disparities. There is a tremendous need for primary care providers—especially among those with little or no health insurance. Erie’s residency program will fill this gap by training a workforce of highly skilled, culturally competent physicians.

Erie Receives National Award

The Lending Hands for Life program at Erie Family Health Center has been selected as the winner of the National Quality Center’s 2009 Award for Performance Measurement. “As a program with about 150 patients, we are one of the smaller HIV programs and are honored to be recognized for the high quality care each patient in our program receives,” says Dr. Rachel O’Mara, lead provider the program. The National Quality Center (NQC) created the Quality of Care Award Program to recognize Ryan White Program grantees, organizations and individuals that have demonstrated

outstanding progress in improving the quality of HIV care. Funded by HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau in September 2004, the NQC provides quality improvement technical assistance to Ryan White CARE Act grantees across the United States, building capacity to improve the quality of HIV/AIDS care and services. NQC aims to acknowledge excellence among Ryan White Program-funded grantees and promote these quality champions to further spread quality improvement. The NQC recognizes organizations that have made exceptional improvements in the quality of HIV care in four categories: Performance Measurement, Quality Improvement Activities, Quality Management Infrastructure Development and Leadership in Quality. For 2009, Erie won the Award for Performance Measurement for its outstanding efforts with The Lending Hands for Life

(LHL) program. The award honors Erie for significantly strengthening its ability to measure the quality of HIV care and demonstrating a strong ability to collect and share data. “This award shows that we have the clinical and Quality Improvement (QI) leaders within Erie who can put theory into practice. They measure, they make a plan to improve a challenging issue, and then they measure again, “says Dr. Lee Francis, President and CEO of Erie Family Health Center. “Building on 20 years of our program, we have shown even more fantastic results under new leadership in just three years.”

For more information visit

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What is 2009 H1N1? 2009 H1N1 is a new influenza virus first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization signaled a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 flu was underway. When is the flu season? The peak of flu season in the United States is from late November through March. What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people? The symptoms of the flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue as well as vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Myths & Facts

How does 2009 H1N1 virus spread? Spread of 2009 H1N1 virus occurs the same way seasonal flu spreads, mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. This happens when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled, up to three feet, through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. The viruses also can spread when a person touches droplets and then touches their mouth or nose before washing their hands. How long can an infected person spread this virus to others? People infected with the seasonal flu may infect others from one day prior to getting sick to 5 to 7 days after.

How severe is illness associated with 2009 H1N1 flu virus? Illness with the flu has ranged from mild to severe. While most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths from infection with this virus have occurred. Studies have shown no children and very few adults younger than 60 years old have existing antibody to 2009 H1N1 virus. How long should I stay home? You should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Stay away from all types of public gatherings.

Helpful Web sites to answer all of your H1N1 questions: • •

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Spotlight: Fall 2009 Newsletter  
Spotlight: Fall 2009 Newsletter  

Check out Erie highlights from fall 2009.