Duffy Health Center continues to advance its mission of providing services to patients in the Cape community who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of it. In May of last year, Duffy transitioned to the state-of-the-art electronic health record (EHR), Epic. This EHR is used by approximately 80% of hospitals and physicians’ offices across the Commonwealth which means enhanced data sharing amongst providers leading to a high quality of care and better outcomes for patients. This best-in-class software required a significant financial investment by the health center. However, soon after launch last summer, Duffy received a $669,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) that covered nearly the entire capital cost. “This investment from the EOHHS was a significant help to the agency,” said Heid Nelson, CEO. “It has allowed us to redirect resources elsewhere in support of programs and services for patients and clients.”
On November 1, Duffy Health Center launched its new Medical Respite program. Duffy is part of a demonstration project through the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, and has received funding to provide medical respite services to its patients and clients. “Medical respite is a program that provides follow up medical care to patients when they are discharged from the hospital because they are not sick enough to stay, but they are also not well enough to return to an unstable living situation to heal,” said Dr. Lisa Jones, Chief Medical Officer at Duffy Health Center. “This medical respite program will have 5 beds through a motel-stay program, much like our current cold weather shelter program, In From the Streets. Duffy can bring our integrated care model into the program, connecting medical respite patients to nursing, behavioral health, and case management services while they are in respite.”
In early January, Duffy Health Center partnered with Public Health Dental Hygiene, a mobile dental hygiene provider. Their hygienists come to Duffy once a month to provide cleanings for patients onsite at 94 Main Street, Hyannis. “Dental programs are typically a part of a community health center’s integrated care model,” said Heidi. “However, the investment required to create an onsite program is substantial for the agency. A mobile dental health clinic is a perfect match for our patient need and providing high quality, efficient dental care for our patients.”
Also in January, Duffy Health Center will launch its Diabetic Eye Screening program. With federal grant support, the agency has purchased a RetinaVue System, a technology that allows a primary care provider to take pictures as part of a retinal eye exam that are then submitted electronically to an eye care doctor to read. “Eye care is another critical service for the patients we serve,” said Dr. Lisa Jones. “Being able to provide this service onsite when a patient is already here to see other providers furthers our goal of clinical integration and provides a convenience for our patients so they don’t have to travel to another provider.”
The mission of Duffy Health Center is to provide equitable, integrated primary health care and support services to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness on Cape Cod, and to improve the quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized populations through community collaborations, leadership, and advocacy.