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SPECIAL REPORT 2017

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

60

YEARS OF SERVICE

MHC Healthcare Expands to15 Locations

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MHC Healthcare By the Numbers Year founded – 1957 Service area – 600 square miles

PHOTOS: AMY HASKELL

Locations – 15 health centers Budget – $50 million annually Primary care visits in 2015 – 200,000 visits, 45,000 patients Employees – 500 in 2016 + 150 projected new hires in 2017 Solar energy – Powers nearly 100 percent of MHC’s flagship, Marana Main Health Center

From left − Jon Reardon, Director of Behavioral Health; Luis Velasco, CIO; Dr. Jenitza Serrano-Feliciano, CMO; Lorraine Madrid, CCO; Clint Kuntz, CEO; Christopher Oben, COO and Jania Arnoldi, CFO

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MHC Healthcare Network Expands

15 Health Centers Serve Metro Area By Christy Krueger When healthcare providers spend time building relationships with patients and take interest in their overall health, the likelihood of positive outcomes increases. That’s the goal of all those who serve the community through the MHC Healthcare network, previously known as Marana Health Center. MHC Healthcare offers whole-person care based on a successful model introduced in Marana in 1957. Staff members put patients front-and-center while embracing innovative medical and technical advancements that ensure the highest level of care. MHC is the state’s oldest community health center. It began in 1957 as a one-room clinic in a Marana cotton field where the medical staff cared for migrants, local agriculture workers and

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poverty-level people seeking medical services. With few care options available for miles around, it was immediately well received. The founding vision to provide healthcare to the underserved of Marana continues today – yet that vision has expanded exponentially, said CEO Clint Kuntz. Today the MHC Healthcare service area covers 600 square miles with 15 locations. “Initially, the MHC Healthcare board saw a need to serve the Marana community. Then we needed to move into other areas. We provide a variety of primary care health services all the way down to the southern part of Tucson. Half our patients or more are outside Marana in the Tucson area.” The majority of its growth came in the past 15 years. As recently as 2002, MHC had just one satellite site – in Catalina. It added its 15th health center in October 2016 with the opening of Dove Mountain Health Center northeast of Tangerine Road and Dove Mountain Boulevard. The decision to open in the Dove Mountain area was based on surveys and research, which found few nearby medical providers and specifically no urgent-care facilities. “We look continuously at where we need to expand to serve the population,” said Chris Oben, MHC’s COO.

Whole-Person Healthcare for All

MHC’s patient demographics have definitely changed. In addition to serving uninsured and low-income patients, MHC health centers treat many patients who have healthcare insurance and live in middle-income households. The broader geographic and demographic expansions prompted the leadership to make the name change. In 2008, after 51 years, Marana Health Center was rebranded MHC Healthcare. The model that MHC has used almost from the start is known as a community health center (CHC) and MHC was the first such health provider in Arizona. Nationwide, CHCs serve nearly 24 million people a year and save the country’s healthcare system more than $17 billion each year. “Traditionally, a CHC is a place where anyone can go to get healthcare no matter the barriers, such as ability to pay. They have a sliding fee scale,” Kuntz said. “Funding is mostly through patient services just like any other provider. We also get a grant from the federal government – but that’s a small piece and only covers uninsured patients.” Kuntz believes the healthcare industry in general is moving toward the CHC model, in which multiple providers are located together on one campus continued on page 154 >>> Winter 2017

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BizHEALTHCARE continued from page 153 and work closely with patients and their families. MHC Healthcare is a nationally accredited Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a model of primary care in which patients have a team of care providers – including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers and educators. “This is a provider-led cultural shift,” Oben said. “We look at the whole patient and we develop a relationship with the care team. It’s been very effective.” Part of the system includes making sure each patient is up to date with preventive services, which Oben said saves money in the long run because issues are caught before becoming an emergency. This has also led to the use of care coordinators, who follow up when a patient is referred to an outside specialist. Full Spectrum of Services

PHOTOS: AMY HASKELL

MHC’s main location, at 13395 N. Marana Main St., houses a number of care specialties and providers – from primary care to radiology, dental care to pediatrics, women’s health and pharmacy. Next-door is the Counseling & Wellness Center. The other 14 MHC Healthcare sites have less extensive offerings. Providers refer patients to outside pharmacies and other services that aren’t available at their neighborhood MHC. Integrating medical and behavioral care is a central concept that MHC has embraced, Oben said. “We were one of the first in the state to integrate them both into one facility.” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jenitza Serrano-Feliciano stresses the importance of

Jamie Young, Head Nurse Practitioner, MHC Healthcare 154 BizTucson

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MHC Healthcare Mission, Vision & Mantra Mission: MHC Healthcare is dedicated to providing excellence in integrated health services to the communities we serve. Vision: MHC Healthcare will be the preferred provider of integrated health services. We will provide quality, culturally-competent service, encourage patient participation in healthcare decisions and empower them to achieve the highest quality of life. Mantra: Quality healthcare with a heart!

treating each patient as a whole person. “We don’t leave out social or psychological problems that may be interfering with medical issues. We do morning huddles with our medical and behavioral health teams to discuss who we will see that day and create a plan. That’s key in integrative care.” This increased need to coordinate information between providers has led MHC to become more reliant on healthcare technology. Even prior to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for electronic medical records, MHC launched its own system and then attempted to link with other healthcare providers in the state. “In 2007, we started the EMR system to replace paper charts – which was the way of doing business then,” said Luis Velasco, chief information officer. “All the community health centers in Arizona got together and tried to define what EMR system would be best for everyone to adopt. Today, record sharing is still a goal that has not been so easy to implement,” Velasco said, although it is advancing. “Over time, EMR technology will become critical to satisfy healthcare quality reporting requirements, enhance patient services and manage integration efforts.” he added. As healthcare technology, regulation and medical treatments become more complex, so does the overseeing of good business practices. When Lorraine Madrid started working at MHC in 2003, the center didn’t have a human resources department, let alone a compliance position. She hired an HR staff and 10 years later was promoted to chief compliance officer, the position she holds today. Her primary role is overseeing compliance of statutes, rules and regulations and www.BizTucson.com


she’s the liaison with MHC’s legal counsel. Much of her job involves research, and she regularly keeps up with everchanging state and federal laws. Compliance in healthcare has become especially important in the last few years with the crackdown by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to fight fraud. Nationally, decreasing the number of false insurance claims by requiring providers to oversee billing and patient visits is saving CMS billions of dollars, Madrid said. MHC Urgent Care at Dove Mountain

The new 16,000-square-foot center at Dove Mountain includes primary care, counseling & wellness and urgent care services. This is MHC Healthcare’s first urgent care that accepts patients on a walk-in basis. MHC Healthcare’s Quick Care currently only sees established patients for same-day care. “Dove Mountain was a growing idea and a new venture to serve a greater variety of patients and a wider population,” said Jamie Young, head family nurse practitioner at Dove Mountain Health Center and MHC Urgent Care at Dove Mountain. “The demographics of patients we expect to see with primary care and family care is all ages, including seniors. On the urgent care side, we’ll see minor injuries.” In addition to opening the Dove Mountain facility, MHC is completely renovating its Flowing Wells site. “It’s our oldest facility, built in the 1960s, and is in need of upgrades and renovations from top to bottom,” Kuntz said. “In other growth we’re looking at where we already serve – in the northwest and east sides – for gaps in care.” This may in-

MHC Healthcare is committed to the whole person – mind and body – to improve overall health and well-being. Through Integrated Healthcare the staff coordinates primary medical care with dental, pharmacy and counseling & wellness services for all stages of life.

Clint Kuntz CEO, MHC Healthcare

Onsite Services Case Management Care Coordination Counseling & Wellness Dental Care Family Practice Insurance Outreach Internal Medicine Laboratory MHC Urgent Care Pediatrics Pharmacy Primary Care Quick Care Radiology Transportation WIC Program Women’s Health

clude the Tanque Verde area, depending on what unmet needs are found. The leadership team of MHC has been fortunate in the past decade to be able to expand where it sees the need, yet this wasn’t always the case. CFO Jania Arnoldi remembers having one full-time provider, one parttime provider and a nurse practitioner when she started in 1999. The budget at that time was $990,000. When MHC began receiving federal funding to cover uninsured patients, Arnoldi’s department got a financial boost. It allowed her to pay the bills. “Then we had to develop payroll and identify our issues and work through each of them.” During her tenure, Arnoldi said, “It went from momand-pop to 500 employees,” with a current budget of $50 million. Arnoldi remembered it was Ora Mae Harn, then MHC’s Executive Director and former Marana mayor, who initiated expansion of the small office that MHC inhabited at the time. “Ora Mae was not afraid to ask for contributions and they paid for a lot of the expansion. We added on and grew until we finished expanding in 2002.” In 2012, MHC moved a few blocks to its current main facility, which is already maxed out of space.

Affiliated Specialties Cardiology Gastroenterology Neurology Oncology Ophthalmology Orthopedic MHC HealthCare MHCHealthcare.org (520) 682-4111

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PHOTO:COURTESY ZDOGGMD

MHC Healthcare Celebrates 60 Years In 2017 MHC Healthcare celebrates 60 years of caring for the communities it serves. Arizona’s first community health center has grown into a network of 15 health centers spanning from Marana, Dove Mountain and Catalina to Picture Rocks and central, east and south Tucson. To commemorate this milestone and to thank the community for its strong support, MHC Healthcare is holding a gala event at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain this fall. The featured speaker is nationally renowned physician and standup comedian Dr. Zubin Damania – aka ZDoggMD – who uses humor and wit to educate audiences on healthcare issues faced by patients and providers alike. www.BizTucson.com

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MHC HEALTHCARE 60TH ANNIVERSARY GALA Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain 15000 N. Secret Spring Drive, Marana Cocktails 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Dinner and program 6:30 – 9 p.m. Free valet parking available For tickets, contact Stephen Stone (520) 616 –1455 or sstone@mhchealthcare.org Winter 2017

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BizHEALTHCARE continued from page 155 Recruiting Nurse Practitioners and Physicians

Each time MHC opens a new health center and adds providers, a support staff must also be hired, Arnoldi said. With this in mind, MHC leaders predict a growth of approximately 150 employees between late 2016 and fall of 2017. And this is expected while maintaining financial stability. “We’re doing well financially,” she said. To keep up with employee growth, MHC uses an in-house recruiter for the hiring of nurse practitioners and physicians. “He works with different agencies to see what talent is out there and if their interests match our mission of healthcare, which we try to maintain and follow through the whole process,” said SerranoFeliciano, stressing that the organization’s family feel is part of what attracts new hires. Even with 500 employees as of November 2016, there is a tight and efficient communications system in place at MHC. This can be attributed, in part, to the provider taskforce, made up of a group of medical providers and leadership members. “On a daily basis we discuss challenges providers have in regards to operations,” meaning non-clinical issues. “It’s been successful. There have been policy changes based on input from providers,” Serrano-Feliciano said. With all that MHC offers patients on a very personal level, it also does not compromise when it comes to medical technology. “We stay on top of the newest equipment and the best services we can provide,” Dr. Serrano-Feliciano said. That includes digital X-rays, ultrasound, dental devices and the pharmacy’s 2-yearold Parata robot. Greg Redding is MHC’s Director of Pharmacy and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. He explained the Parata system: “The tech enters the prescription information and sends it to the robot, which holds 78 drugs. It fills the prescription, types the label, applies the label and applies the cap. In 40 seconds it spits it out.” Redding said it’s one of the best business decisions he’s made, and he credits Kuntz and Serrano-Feliciano for facilitating the purchase. Acquiring the Parata robot for the pharmacy, hiring care coordinators and using an EMR system have all positively impacted MHC employees – yet the real winners are the patients. They spend far less time waiting for prescriptions, they know someone has their back during and following appointments, and they’re assured their personal medical history is secure. It’s the culture of MHC, where all staff members put patients first. Oben represents the MHC leadership team when he says, “This is a wonderful place to work. We have the best staff. They all want to help our patients.”

MHC Healthcare Foundation Funds Medical Care, Service Expansion For six decades MHC Healthcare has provided whole-person medical care in underserved areas – growing from a one-room clinic in a cotton field to 15 locations throughout the metro region, including the newest clinic in Dove Mountain. The nonprofit community health center has a $50 million budget and currently employs over 500 staff. Its service area covers 600 square miles. “We are currently experiencing growth of about 13 percent per year. Our Dove Mountain Center opened in October and it’s growing rapidly,” said Stephen Stone, Director of Development for the MHC Healthcare Foundation. “We’re taking on patients a lot faster than anticipated. The need is there and we plan future growth strategically so we can continue providing quality primary care services in the communities we serve. “As a nonprofit, MHC Healthcare relies on financial contributions from the community. The foundation is becoming a significant source of funding. Our goal is to generate sustainable income to establish, maintain and expand MHC’s services and programs. “At this point we plan to purchase equipment as modern technology is always advancing and this helps us to deliver better quality service. We also work with our medical providers to expand programs and services that impact health, for example, addressing the needs of people with uncontrolled hypertension. “In the near future, we’ll be raising funds for a new administration building to be built on land we own. We have already outgrown our Marana Main facility which opened in 2011. Once completed the existing building will be fully clinical. Long-term, there will be continued expansion along the Sun Corridor – stretching north to Maricopa County – and promising new opportunities for the next 40 to 50 years,” added Stone. Stone has 34 years experience in healthcare fundraising, including nearly a decade with the Carondelet Foundation here in Tucson, and most recently with the 220-bed Cheyenne Regional Hospital in Wyoming. He joined the foundation last spring. “There are tremendous opportunities ahead and we will continue to expand – with the assistance of our foundation volunteers and donors. At MHC, every dollar raised goes directly into programs and services. We provide ‘quality healthcare with a heart.’ And that heart comes from our staff, our donors and our communities.” Contact Stephen Stone at sstone@mhchealthcare.org or (520) 616 –1455.

Stephen Stone Director of Development MHC Healthcare Foundation

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From left:

Dr. Joshua Simon

Jon Reardon

Behavioral Health Director

PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

Behavioral Health Medical Director

Coached to Fullfill a Dream Training Program Puts Patients to Work By April Bourie Behavioral health issues got in the way of Ryan O’Gurk’s dream. MHC Healthcare’s Work Adjustment Training Program and his recovery coaches helped make that dream come true. Behavioral health patients who are identified by their recovery coaches as good candidates for the program are placed in either the Cotton Blossom resale store or the Copper Café as trainees. O’Gurk, who has mild autism, worked in the Copper Café for approximately six months. This fit perfectly with his dream of owning his own concession business. From age 7, O’Gurk wanted to be

a popcorn concessionaire. His mom’s boyfriend at the time had given him a catalog for a popcorn supplier, which he read until the pages fell out. When O’Gurk got older, the boyfriend took him to the Pima County Fair to work the concessions. In the Copper Café, O’Gurk learned about health codes, how to keep a restaurant clean, cooking skills and general customer service skills. After completing the program, he also received startup funding from a program partner organization, Cenpatico, that helps support program graduates. Today, “Ry’s Snacks” sells popcorn and other types of snacks once a week in the lob-

by of the MHC Marana Main Health Center, and he is a concessionaire at several special events in the Marana area including the Cotton Festival. “I never thought someone would be so generous to help me start my business,” O’Gurk said. “Working in the Copper Café was fun, and it made my dreams possible.” That’s one of many success stories that come from including counseling and wellness services along with medical care. Seventy-five percent of the program’s trainees have successfully found employment. “The program is successful because it gets trainees out of their comfort zone

SPOTLIGHT: The Work Adjustment Training Program is part of MHC Healthcare’s full range of behavioral health services, including outpatient therapy and case management, domestic violence assessment and treatment, substance abuse assessment and treatment, trauma services, parenting classes and support and education groups. 158 BizTucson

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

and gives them the opportunity and confidence to move forward,” said Sharon Mikrut, MHC’s Employment Services Supervisor. The recovery coaches are familiar with all of a patient’s overall health and wellness issues, not just his or her medical issues. “In addition to working with all of the patient’s medical providers, recovery coaches take an integrated approach and are familiar with the external pressures patients deal with on a daily basis,” said Dr. Joshua Simon, MHC Behavioral Health Medical Director. Trainees who need a little more assistance start out in the Cotton Blossom resale store, working mainly in the back, organizing and stocking donations. “Once they have proven that they can consistently arrive to work on time, have a good work ethic, can effectively interact with other people and perform other similar tasks, they move up to working in the Copper Café,” said Misty Kornacki, Cotton Blossom Manager. “Not all trainees start at the Cotton Blossom, but for those who need extra time and training, it is a good place to start.” The recovery coaches also connect patients with an MHC job coach. Job coaches work with trainees to improve their customer service and work ethic skills. Job coaches also work with trainees on interview skills and creating a resume and help trainees to connect with various employers in the community. “The job coach helps the trainees determine their potential and reinforces their independence,” said Jon Reardon, Director of Behavioral Health. “We call it helping them to ‘grow and glow.’ ”

PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

Employment Services Supervisor

Stephen Stone, Director of Development, MHC Healthcare Foundation Misty Kornacki Cotton Blossom Store Manager

PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

Sharon Mikrut

Ryan O’Gurk with his mother on left and MHC coach Rosemary Souza

Cotton Blossom Moves to Dove Mountain By April Bourie

The Cotton Blossom resale store is moving from west of Interstate 10 to 5224 W. Dove Centre Road, northeast of Dove Mountain Boulevard and Tangerine Road. “The area is poised for growth, and we want to take advantage of that growth and the financial and outreach opportunities it affords,” said Stephen Stone, MHC Healthcare Foundation’s Director of Development. “One-hundred percent of the income from the resale store and other MHC Foundation programs is reinvested in services like the Work Adjustment Training program. These funds are also used to purchase medical equipment, provide startup funds for new services and programs, and to provide direct services for patients who cannot afford treatment. “A growth in revenue means we can provide more needed services and programs to the community,” said Stone.

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Misty Castro Copper Cafe Manager

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Greg Redding

Director Pharmacy Services

Pharmacists areTouch Point for Patient Care By Christy Krueger

Those old enough to remember picking up their medication prescriptions at the pharmacist-owned drugstore down the street have seen major changes in both the availability of prescription drugs and the way they’re dispensed. By merging new industry practices with old-fashioned patient service, the pharmacies at MHC Health offer the best of both worlds – something patients are responding to positively. Eleven years ago Greg Redding joined MHC with a doctoral degree from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. Now, as director of pharmacy, he is enthusiastic about how the

industry has transformed overall and specifically how MHC enables pharmacists to play a larger role in patients’ health. The onslaught of new drugs reaching the marketplace in recent years means the pharmacist’s job is more complex than ever before. Pharmacy students today earn a Pharm.D., a four-year advanced clinical degree, versus the Bachelor of Science degree common in earlier times. “As much as the drug scene is changing, medications are becoming more sophisticated and it’s becoming more specialized,” Redding said. “We now

have the ability to do therapeutic substitutions” – meaning the pharmacist can use a different drug than the doctor prescribed if it’s in the same therapeutic class. “Today there are many options for those who are pursuing a career in pharmacy. Most people think of a pharmacist as the person behind the counter, but there are opportunities in long-term care, clinical pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, home infusion and much more,” Redding said. Patients are benefiting from many of these changes and probably more so at MHC’s pharmacy than at traditional

SPOTLIGHT: MHC Healthcare operates three full-service pharmacies – at Marana Main, Clinica Del Alma and Wilmot Family Health Centers. The pharmacists are part of the patient care team and now handle some tasks once reserved for physicians. 160 BizTucson

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PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

BizHEALTHCARE


pharmacies. Community health center staff members – including pharmacists – are closer to their patients by design. Redding sees this as a significant advantage for those they serve. He said MHC patients often visit the pharmacy more often than any other provider. So it makes for more efficient care when pharmacists handle some of the tasks once left to the physician. “Some patients need to be frequently monitored – and the pharmacist is a convenient, available resource for this purpose. The pharmacist can then communicate with the care team if it’s determined that the drug dosage needs to be changed or some other action taken. Redding strongly believes the MHC pharmacists have more collaboration with physicians than pharmacists at national chains do. “This happens more with us, for one, because we’re all in the same building. Second, we all meet on a regular basis. And the biggest thing is – we have access to electronic health records. We see diseases, prescriptions and treatments. Others don’t have ac-

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As much as the drug scene is changing, medications are becoming more sophisticated and it’s becoming more specialized.

– Greg Redding Director Pharmacy Services MHC Healthcare

cess to these things so there’s little communication in general.” A specific example of how Redding’s department goes the distance with its customers is a program it’s starting for diabetics. “We’re trying to establish

a clinical pharmacy program. When diabetic patients come, we may check on blood glucose, do a foot exam, eye exam or dosage change to save the patient time by not having to go to the doctor again.” One of the most progressive patientcentered strategies the pharmacy has initiated is coordinating the renewal timing for those taking multiple medications. “The biggest complaint we have is they want them all in the same day. Otherwise they could be at the pharmacy three or four times a month.” To resolve this issue, MHC pharmacists use a software system that can vary the prescription length as opposed to using only the traditional 30-day cycle. This way the customers can pick up all of their prescriptions at the same time. Redding said enthusiastically how thrilled patients are with the attention they receive from MHC pharmacists and the innovations that make their lives easier. “We get compliments from patients all the time for the speed of getting their prescription and our great service.” Biz

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From left:

Daniel Robles

MHC Dental Manager

Vijay Patel , DMD

Director of Dental Services, MHC Healthcare

PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

BizHEALTHCARE

Good Oral Health Contributes to Better Overall Health By April Bourie By the time most of us have finished first grade, we understand the importance of taking care of our teeth and gums. Definitely by the time the tooth fairy stops visiting, we understand that it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. Yet the benefits go well beyond that. Recent research indicates that dental health also is linked to other aspects of physical and psychological health. “The bacteria created in the mouth travels through the body, so it makes sense that good oral health translates into better overall health,” said Vijay Patel, Director of Dental Services at MHC Healthcare. “Most research has been done on how good oral habits can assist in maintaining blood sugar levels in diabetics, but there is also evidence that it can af-

fect cardiac and many other physical issues.” Dental care also can improve a patient’s appearance and self-confidence and, combined with other MHC services, their lives. “We created dentures” for a former trainee in MHC’s Copper Café, “and that greatly improved his self-esteem,” Patel said. “The combination of the improved aesthetic, job-training skills and increase in self-esteem gave him the ability to obtain a much better job almost immediately.” MHC Healthcare takes an integrated approach to training its dental staff and providing dental care. “We recently had staff from the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Department come over to train our staff on breast-feeding and nutrition,” Patel said. “We also train other departments

on the importance of good oral habits.” This integrated approach fosters teamwork, helps staff across the MHC system consider all aspects of patient health, and improves overall patient care. Technology also allows MHC staff in all departments to share patient records to get the full picture of patients’ health and treatment plans. “I am very proud of what we do and how we provide our services,” Patel said. “We improve the standard of life for our patients, many of whom could not afford to get these services if we weren’t providing them. Our integrated approach is what makes working at MHC so different from working at a more traditional dental office. We rival any other healthcare organization in quality and compassion.”

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SPOTLIGHT: MHC Healthcare provides comprehensive dental services including preventive cleanings, restorative care, crowns and bridges, extractions, root canals, complex periodontal (gum disease) care and orthodontics at its Marana Main Health Center, 13395 N. Marana Main St., and the Ellie Towne Health Center, 1670 W. Ruthrauff Road. 162 BizTucson

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PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

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Dr. Marsha Brooks-Candela

MHC Obstetrics & Women’s Health

Women Caring for Women By April Bourie “Men can and do give quality OB/ GYN healthcare,” said Dr. Marsha Brooks-Candela, one of the service providers at MHC Obstetrics & Women’s Health at 2055 W. Hospital Drive, across a parking lot from the Northwest Medical Center Emergency Room. “But when a woman has to get completely naked in front of someone for medical purposes, most of us are more comfortable doing so in front of another woman.” Feeling more relaxed often leads to patients giving more information about their health concerns and their lives. “We are not unlike the bartender or the hairdresser – hearing completely honest stories of our patients’ lives – because they know we can empathize,” Brooks-Candela said. “This leads to more details about the patient as a whole, which leads to better healthcare. “This includes diet and nutrition, what to expect at various stages of life, and even what kind of resources a patient has for caring for themselves and

getting the medications they need.” That “patient as a whole” approach applies to females at younger ages, as more of them are menstruating earlier, Brooks-Candela said. Many parents often don’t know how to discuss these issues with their daughters, and this leads to confusion and misinformation about what’s happening to them. “OB/GYNs are teaching girls as young as 9 about respecting their own bodies and helping them manage both their emotions and their health during this time in their lives,” she said. “Hormones affect every aspect of a female’s body, and it is important for OB/GYNs to provide not only medical care, but emotional care as well.” During her 26 years in the medical field, Brooks-Candela has worked in almost every model of healthcare, including her own practice, a large hospital setting and other community health systems. But she is happiest working at MHC.

“In this organization, we look at the whole person, not just the medical complaint,” she said. “It doesn’t do any good for me to diagnose a medical issue if the patient can’t get the medical supplies she needs because of transportation or monetary issues. “MHC has its own pharmacy. Our medications are provided at a greatly reduced rate for those who cannot afford the high cost of their medicines.” Like other areas of MHC Healthcare, MHC Obstetrics & Women’s Health provides medical care whether or not the patient has insurance – with fees on a sliding scale based on a patient’s ability to pay, payment plans and even costs written-off for those with very limited income. “Success in our field means enabling the patient to get the healthcare they need within our system,” BrooksCandela said. “I am so proud that we provide the same quality of healthcare across the board, no matter what income a person has.” Biz

SPOTLIGHT: MHC Healthcare provides comprehensive women’s health services through all stages of life, from adolescence through the reproductive, pregnancy and post-menopausal years. It provides these obstetric and gynecological services with an all-female team of physicians and nurse practitioners. 164 BizTucson

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PHOTO: CHRIS MOONEY

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Vicki Clous

Family Nurse Practitioner MHC’s Freedom Park Health Center

Patients + Providers = Family By April Bourie MHC Healthcare providers work as a team and with their patients to achieve the well-being of the whole person. Its mantra is, “Quality healthcare with a heart.” “My relationship with my patients is like a marriage. It doesn’t work if the relationship is not strong on both sides,” said Vicki Clous, Family Nurse Practitioner at MHC’s Freedom Park Health Center near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

“My relationship with my patients may influence their decisions in the future and help us to break the cycle of poor health choices, food stamps and multiple pregnancies,” Clous said. Clous, who has been at the health center for 11 years, is sensitive to the fact that many of her patients don’t have transportation. “There has been talk of removing the laboratory services from our health center, but I am opposed to that,” she

said. “Many of our clients can’t get to another lab for a blood draw. If I’m going to get the test done, it has to be done here.” Patients’ lack of transportation also means Clous is called upon to provide services usually performed at an emergency room or urgent care center. She finds herself stitching up wounds, conducting joint aspirations and providing injections to help patients with fibromyalgia or muscle soreness. It took her two

SPOTLIGHT: MHC Healthcare works closely with patients and their families, recognizing the unique needs, cultures and beliefs of each patient. MHC Healthcare coordinates care between specialty care, hospitals, home healthcare and community services. It provides many resources to care for its patients 24/7. 166 BizTucson

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hours to stitch up a patient’s severed tendon after a dog bite, but everything was in working order once it healed. “Many of the people I went to medical school with have forgotten these skills because they don’t do them on a day-to-day basis,” Clous said. “I love the variety in my job and the positive impact it has on my patients’ lives.” Dana Weir attests to MHC providers and staff going above and beyond a patient’s healthcare needs to help the whole person. Weir, a partner at Imwalle and Weir Strategic Consulting, has been conducting market research for MHC Healthcare on how to best use technology for optimum patient care. At one clinic, when a patient told his doctor that he had a job interview coming up, the staff gave him appropriate clothes to wear and helped him practice his interviewing skills through mock interviews, Weir said. At another clinic, a patient needed to get his family to the food bank, so a staff member made an introductory call on the family’s behalf and arranged for transportation. MHC supports the staff’s whole-per-

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son approach to care. “A lot of trust is given to providers and staff, which allows us to feel like we own our work,”

MHC feels like a family. This allows us to work together collaboratively so our patients can be successful.

– Sharon Mikrut Employment Services Supervisor MHC Healthcare

said Vijay Patel, Director of Dental Services. “But we also have lots of support when it is needed.”

MHC also supports staff members’ professional growth. “MHC provides educational reimbursement and also has a training program called MHC University where we can learn everything from how to use Excel to how to improve communication and customer service skills,” said Daniel Robles, MHC Dental Manager. Teamwork is key. Morning huddles – consultations between providers who serve the same patients – occur on a regular basis, according to Jon Reardon, Director of Behavioral Health. “This ensures that the patients are getting the best and most informed care from their providers,” he said. According to Patel, these types of interactions across departments allow MHC staff to be familiar with their counterparts and to feel comfortable working together. “MHC feels like a family,” said Sharon Mikrut, employment services supervisor. “This allows us to work together collaboratively so our patients can be successful.”

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