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The opening of an expanded medical center at Woods Services
Bucks County Courier Times - 6/28/2018
The opening of an expanded medical center at Woods Services in Middletown will improve healthcare for the nonprofit's hundreds of residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said officials with Woods and Keystone First, the insurance company partnering with the organization to broaden medical services.
While Woods Services has provided healthcare to its clients for more than 100 years, the new "patient-centered medical home," marks a higher level of care on the campus, said Tine Hansen-Turton, Woods' chief executive officer.
"Our residents have severe medical conditions, from genetic disorders, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injuries to mental illness, and require a different level of care," Hansen-Turton said Wednesday. Many, she added, don't have primary care in one location.
The new center on the campus opened Wednesday.
The expanded services and enhanced hours offered at the medical center on campus will include additional mental health care, more laboratory services, an X-ray machine, two full-time psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, the CEO said. They will join an eye doctor, podiatrist, neurologist, dentist and other professionals already on staff. As the center begins its larger effort of focusing on residents' psychological and physical health care needs under one roof on the campus, officials expressed confidence the need for emergency room visits and hospital stays will drop.
Dr. Steven Lipschutz, the center's medical director, said residents will be able to see the doctors and support staff who know their unique medical, behavioral and psychological needs.
"It's difficult enough for people with these disabilities to get care. ... Everyone's lives will be easier with one place to go," Lipschutz said. "The people who need this the most are those with behavioral and psychiatric issues."
Susan Anderson's daughter Kara, 29, suffers from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a severe seizure disorder. She's been at Woods Services for the last 10½ years.
"Kara's on the medically fragile side," said Anderson, who lives in Hillsboro, New Jersey. On average, she said, her daughter suffers a life-threatening seizure once a day. She dreads visits to the emergency room.
"My heart sinks like a stone," said Anderson, when she gets a call that her daughter's been taken to the ER. "I know it will be a 10 to 11-hour ordeal." The more inclusive medical center, she hopes, will reduce those difficult hospital visits.
"As a parent, I'm looking to minimize trips to the ER and have her seen by people familiar with her. Our children are so unique, it's hard when doctors and nurses don't know them."
By emphasizing "overall care coordination," Keystone First market president Joanne McFall said, the medical center will provide services and care "wrapped around that person."
Keystone First, an affiliate of Independence Blue Cross, is a Medicaid managed health program. Many Woods residents are Medicaid patients, as are many across the country with intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex medical conditions. Due to the complexities, people with these diagnosis account for a significant portion of those receiving Medicaid benefits and close to $1 trillion in Medicaid and Medicare spending, according to the insurance provider.
Through a patient-centered medical home, like the one at Woods Services, officials hope to to break down some of the barriers to care, including finding providers who accept Medicaid and Medicare, and cut down on the highest cost drivers, such as emergency room visits.
The pilot program is expected to serve as a national model for serving patients with numerous health and behavioral concerns, officials said.