Greetings from South Cove!
Dear South Cove Staff, Patients, Supporters and Friends:
I want to take a moment and recap the year 2018: we started the year talking about our ACO and how it is affecting our health center and our pharmacy program.
We have all worked very hard to adjust to the new rules and regulations with less payment, while taking care of some 33,000 patients with the same care and quality we always did. While doing this, we still expanded and opened our 5th clinic in Malden.
We have expanded our call center, our medical staff and our frontline staff to better care for all of our patients.
We have had a HRSA visit in August, who spent three days visiting our health centers. We have been called a State and National Leader in Quality by HRSA for 2018.
None of this could have been done without a hard working staff.
As the holiday season comes near, I just want to thank all the staff for their hard work and commitment to South Cove and our patients.
South Cove Successfully Completed the HRSA Audit
The health center is recognized as a top performing FQHC in the nation
As a 330 federally funded health center, South Cove is subject to periodical reviews and on-site visits by HRSA's (Health Resources & Services Administration) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC).
The site visit, or the OSVs (Operational Site Visits), is defined by HRSA as an "objective assessment and verification of the status of the grant awardee's compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the Health Center Program". The audit also looks at the health center's compliance with the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act) and the 340B Pharmacy Program.
On Tuesday August 21, 2018, a HRSA team that consisted of four investigators/experts: Sheryl Alexander, our Project Officer, Charles J. (Chuck) Wiltraut, Admin/Gov. Consultant, Elizabeth Latham, Clinical Consultant, and LaVonne Linneman, Fiscal Consultant, showed up at South Cove's doorstep ready to conduct a 3-day thorough assessment of the health center.
HRSA issues Policy Information Notices (PINs) that cover a specific category or an item that we must be in compliance with. As part of our preparation, we monitor any and all new PINs as they are issued, match them against the old ones and determine what action, if any, is needed. For the purpose of this audit, there were 21 PINs with subcategories, totaling 91 items for which we were held accountable.
The surveyors split up and delved into their area of expertise and left no stone unturned during the 3-day period.
HRSA Quality Improvement Measure: South Cove's Management of Diabetic Patients
Apart from examining how the health center is operating clinically and financially, how the health center is delivering quality of care and value to patients is also a major component.
For chronic diseases, early detection and management are key to ensuring good quality of life. HRSA recognizes the importance of managing the care of diabetic patients and therefore, has selected it for performance improvement at
over 1,400 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) nationwide.
Here at South Cove, we have a team of healthcare professionals that works with our diabetic patients to achieve optimal outcomes. Brook Hailu, Director of Clinical Operations and Dr. Rong Guan, Co-Medical Director, have been working on this quality measure and, in conjunction with HRSA, setting the health center's S.M.A.R.T goals, which stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, Time-bound goals. The current goal is to develop a database of diabetic patients with a1c>9.0%. With each period-specific goal, we are working toward the general goal of having less than 16% of South Cove's diabetic patients out of compliance with established HRSA diabetes quality metrics (Hba1C>9.0%).
The executive and medical teams check-in quarterly with the HRSA representative to determine compliance with S.M.A.R.T. goals.
During the OSV, HRSA took time to meet and discuss with Dr. Rong Guan and Brook Hailu the health center's progress on this quality measure and was pleased with the ongoing efforts to tackle this growing health concern.
It was an intensive and exhaustive process, but the end result made it all worthwhile!
Following the conclusion of the survey, Eugene shared the happy news with staff and the Board.
"I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and for participating in the HRSA site visit. I am pleased to report that we that we were in compliance with 90 of the 91 elements, I think that is great. Again, my heartfelt thank you for all who worked and participated to make this possible."
South Cove was recognized by HRSA with two certificates deeming the health center as a leader in quality among all FQHCs in the nation.
"As a National Quality Leader, South Cove Community Health Center, Inc. exceeded national clinical quality benchmarks, including Healthy People 2020 goals in chronic disease management, preventive care, or perinatal/prenatal care."
"As a Health Center Quality Leader, South Cove Community Health Center, Inc. achieved the best overall clinical performance among all health centers, placing in the top 30 percent of the adjusted quartile rankings for Clinical Quality Measures."
New WS Clinic Remodeling Project Slated for Summer
A new main entrance proposed
South Cove's newest clinic was opened this past June in Malden, serving Adult Medicine, Pediatric and Ob/Gyn patients as well as those seeking assistance in applying for state sponsored health coverage. It is a completely new clinic in a new location, we are growing our patient base and introducing ourselves to the greater Malden community. We are confident that with the quality of our medical team and the convenient location, we will win many hearts over slowly but surely.
Elsewhere in South Cove, there is a new remodeling project planned for the Washington Street clinic for next summer.
The Washington Street clinic is located inside a school building, patients access the clinic by entering the school building first. With all the horrible events that took place in schools across the country, there is a big emphasis on limiting access directly into the building through the glass doors of the Josiah Quincy School. As a result, access to the school is during school hours only, from 9:15am to 4pm. This means that South Cove patients would have to use the door on 885 Washington Street to access the clinic outside of these hours, which does not provide the best flow and patient experience. Therefore, ideas have been floating about changing the clinic's main entrance, using the 885 Washington Street as the primary entrance, reversing the current layout to have the reception area over there, and limiting the current main entrance to a fire exit.
The South Cove management met with the principal of the Josiah Quincy School and members of the Boston Public School Safety Services Department to discuss this idea. They were pleased that South Cove took the initiative to ask for the meeting, because they had wanted to reach out too about the steps they were taking in securing the safety of the school.
As of now, all parties involved are in favor of this proposal, which would be a win-win for both the school and South Cove. It would allow the school to better secure its building, and a direct street entrance to the clinic would give us more flexibility and control over our hours as well as improve patient flow.
The next step is to have some preliminary drawings, completely changing the flow and the floor plan of the clinic. If everything goes well, we estimate the starting date to be the end of June when school is out for summer break.
South Cove Welcomes New Providers
in Adult Medicine, Pediatrics and Behavioral Health
born and raised in a Chinese immigrant family in Connecticut
. She went to Columbia University for her Master of Science in nursing with a concentration on pediatric primary care, before that she earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.
South Cove has been her extended family since early 2018 and she appreciates how it provides access to care to the Asian underserved population.
When she is not caring for patients, she enjoys serving in the church, baking & cooking, going on food adventures, running & exercising, and being in nature.
Michael Alpert grew up in a town with a large East Asian population. It sparked his interest in learning more about the language and the culture, which led to a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Languages and Literature (Chinese) from Yale University. While studying abroad in Beijing and working for NGO's in Yunnan and Guangzhou after college, he found his calling: a career in the healthcare field as a psychiatrist. Michael had always wanted to help others and make a difference in people's lives on an individual level and believed that one could drive positive social changes through healthcare. With this in mind, he went back to school and obtained his MD degree from his alma mater, Yale University. As for his chosen specialty, Michael enjoys reading about and listening to people's stories, especially those of his former teachers who shared personal accounts of their upbringings in China and Taiwan; psychiatry provides the perfect platform for him to listen to people's stories and use it to help them.
Having joined SCCHC for a few months now, he feels that it is a great fit: he can put his Chinese skills to good use and has the opportunity to care for many people. He loves working with patients and staff alike, and has learned a lot from patients especially. It is very rewarding to see patients improve, and fascinating to hear first-hand the history he had read about in books, such as the Cultural Revolution, being lived and experienced by his patients. At the same time, Michael acknowledges that it is not always easy hearing patients' stories, but had come to expect it through residency. He credits his medical training for having prepared him for it and his South Cove colleagues for being a very supportive bunch! His desire to help others extends outside of South Cove, as he is currently involved in a research project for PTSD treatment.
Besides achieving academic success in pursuit of a medical career, Michael is also quite accomplished in music: he plays the French horn in the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, the piano, and took up guqin, the Chinese zither, during his years in China. When he is not seeing patients or honing his musical skills, he can be found rock climbing, cooking, spending time with friends and hanging out with his cat, Rhizopuss.
Htet Htet Maung
was born in Myitkyina, northern Myanmar, and the youngest of 7 sisters. She aspired to be a doctor at a young age because of her father, who was a primary care physician in Myanmar and a role model to her since childhood.
After graduating medical school in Myanmar, she worked as a primary care physician for approximately 6 months where she gained tremendous amount of confidence and experience from handling many cases independently. In 2012, she moved to the US to join her family and to pursue further medical training. She completed her residency at Nassau University Medical Center in New York where she learned the integral part of the US health care system and the importance of primary care.
Her dream is to efficiently serve the community by focusing on preventive care and giving comprehensive health services. She feels that the great working environment at South Cove is the ideal setting for her to accomplish this.
When not working, she spends her free time traveling. It exposes her to a wide array of people and cultures, and allows her to try authentic ethnic food, "I think traveling is the best antidote for stress and I feel fresh and energized after a good trip," she shares. In addition to traveling, Htet Htet also loves swimming. She feels relaxed and refreshed after a swim, not to mention that it keeps her mind and body sharp!
Safety and Health Tips
The safety of our staff and patients is paramount. There is something that everyone can do to help keep the clinics safe, it is simply to be aware of your surroundings and speak up if something is amiss.
South Cove operates five clinics, these clinics are public buildings that people can enter freely. It is the responsibility of all staff to report something or someone that is out of the ordinary or out of place, we use the MBTA slogan: "if you see something, say something." For anyone that is not at the clinic for an appointment and is belligerent and/or causing disruption, the most effective communication is to dial the 911 operator and ask them to send assistance.
This applies to medical emergencies as well. Do not be afraid or hesitant to dial 911, especially if your supervisor and/or the site manager is not able to respond immediately. We would be happy to offer safety classes or drills for staff who does not feel comfortable dealing with emergent situations.
Now on a different but equally important subject: we are entering the flu season. We strongly recommend that all community members receive a flu shot to protect themselves and their loved ones.
It is always South Cove's goal to maximize seasonal flu vaccination utilization every year. Our nurses work with the vaccine suppliers to oversee the supply and usage at our clinics in order to ensure that we maintain adequate supplies for all our staff and patients.
As healthcare workers, we take it upon ourselves to educate and reach out to the public and the community we serve, and to make sure that people have the accurate information before deciding whether or not to receive the vaccination. We will continue to do this and hopefully improve upon the percentage of people receiving a flu shot this year, particularly those classified as being in the high risk groups.
How your donation will help us serve our patients:
$50 - Fill one uninsured patient's tooth
$100 - Give one uninsured family nutrition class
$250 - Give one uninsured woman mammogram screening
$500 - Give one uninsured patient proper medication for one year under our 340B Pharmacy program
About South Cove Community Health Center:
Founded in 1972, South Cove is dedicated to improving the health and well being of all medically underserved in Massachusetts with a special focus on Asian Americans. This mission is accomplished by providing high quality, community-based health care and health promotion programs which are accessible, linguistically and culturally competent for these populations.
Adult Medicine (成人科) Bone Density (骨質篩檢) Ob/Gyn (婦科) Mammography (X光乳房攝影篩檢) Pediatrics (兒科)
Dentistry (牙科) Optometry (眼科) Member Services (會員服務) Nutrition/WIC (營養科/奶卷) Family Planning (家庭計劃) 340B Pharmacy (
) Early Intervention (幼兒培育組) Behavioral Health (行為健康科) Brighton/Allston After-School Enrichment Program (課餘活動中心)
885 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
145 South Street, Boston, MA 02111
435 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02171
88 Holmes Street, Quincy, MA 02171
277 Commercial Street, Malden, MA 02148
Brighton/Allston After-School Enrichment Program:
640 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135