PHARMACY

Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK With a current shortage of primary care physicians and some 30 million uninsured standing to gain healthcare coverage as a result of healthcare-reform legislation, finding a primary care doctor looks to become increasingly difficult. However, nurse-managed centers could be one solution, according to a USA Today article.

Monday’s article highlighted several “innovative programs” that offer a glimpse of what future primary care could look like and among them was a Philadelphia clinic where nurse practitioners, who have earned master’s or doctorate degrees and have trained in diagnosis and management of health problems, provide primary care services for patients.

Founded in 1992, the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia offers primary care for all ages. Nurse practitioner Donna Torrisi helped found the clinic and was key in convincing state legislators to grant nurse practitioners prescribing authority and recognition as primary care providers, according to USA Today.

The network, supported by the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, serves public housing residents, the poor and the uninsured.

The network’s three sites garnered up to 60,000 patient visits during the past fiscal year. This year, Torrisi told USA Today that she expects that number to reach 70,000.

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East Harlem walk-in asthma center opens

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer have announced the opening of a new asthma walk-in center in East Harlem, where the rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations is the highest in the city.

The new East Harlem walk-in asthma center — an expansion of the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence and a part of the City’s PlaNYC initiative — is aimed to reduce childhood asthma hospitalizations by 50% over the next five years.

The center is one of the key initiatives of Stringer’s Go Green East Harlem, a collaborative community-based initiative that has focused on five core areas: public health and healthy food, parks and open space, sustainable business, transportation, and green building.

The walk-in center staff worked out of the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office before the new space was completed. The $3.5 million project included $700,000 from the Manhattan borough president’s office. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services provided site selection and project management services for the construction.

The new walk-in center will offer a number of asthma-related services, including on-site asthma assessments, individual and group asthma education, social support services, one-on-one asthma counseling, linkage to services to rid homes of asthma-triggering pests and mold and referrals for medical care. The walk-in center will also include a library with educational materials and computers with Internet access to help families learn the best strategies to manage asthma.

More than 25% of the children in East Harlem have asthma, and East Harlem has the highest rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations in the city. In 2008, 11-of-every-1,000 East Harlem children ages 14 years and younger were hospitalized. In 2008, Stringer and the Health Department’s East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office founded the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence to address the issue.

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Stew Leonard’s offers employees on-site physicals

BY Antoinette Alexander

NORWALK, Conn. Stew Leonard’s recently brought into its Yonkers store nurses and doctors from Inter-State Diagnostic to conduct on-site physicals for its team members as part of its commitment to preventive health care, the company announced.

The program kicked off Aug. 2 with 24 associates receiving their annual physical performed by a medical team with Inter State Diagnostic. The associates reported to a conference room above the store for blood work, an EKG and complete physical. Inter-State Diagnostic’s doctors and nurses provided privacy screens and all necessary medical equipment, and met with each team member regarding their healthcare-related questions. A translator for Stew Leonard’s Spanish-speaking employees also was on hand.

On-site physicals are the latest example of how the grocer has taken an active approach to preventive health care for its more than 2,500 employees. On-site cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, mammograms and flu shots are offered throughout year and discounts on weight-loss programs, smoking cessation aids, and fitness center memberships also are provided to both full and part-time team members. In addition, through  Aug 31, Stew Leonard’s will give team members up to $500 in Benefit Bucks ­or money toward their deductible ­ to encourage them to visit their doctor for their annual checkup.

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