For immediate release
SEVEN ORANGE COUNTY CLINICS PIONEER NEW APPROACH TO COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE
Live Healthy OC’s Integrative Health Care Project Prescribes More Whole Person Care and Less Medication for Better Outcomes
Santa Ana, CA – While national health care reform stalls in Washington, D.C., seven local community clinics -- five primary care, one specialty clinic, and one pediatric practice -- are taking action into their own hands. Using Group Medical Visits (GMVs), nutritional workshops, and introductions to holistic health solutions like yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, and meditation, select clinics in North and Central Orange County are empowering patients to learn more about their bodies, build healthier lifestyles, and pass better habits on to friends and family.
“The Live Healthy OC Initiative is groundbreaking and unprecedented. While our clinics are not the first to incorporate integrative health modalities into their model of care, we are the first to do so with this magnitude through a network of clinics that have the potential to touch more than 33,000 patients in our community,” says Rhonda M. Smith, Project Manager.
Focused on patients in economically disadvantaged and underserved communities, Live Healthy OC aims to create a culture of wellness by improving health outcomes, reducing chronic disease, and equipping patients with the knowledge and tools for self-care. Ultimately, Live Healthy OC will develop an integrative wellness model that can be replicated on a national level, addressing chronic care needs, improving patient quality of life, and reducing health care costs.
Live Healthy OC draws on resources provided by the Samueli Center, Integrative Health Practitioners, the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers, and the University of California Irvine Health Scholars, a program providing undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students a specialized clinical experience in community care. Clinic staff and health scholars organize customized GMVs for their specific clinic’s patient population, addressing issues like diabetes, obesity, and chronic pain.
“This is why I went to medical school,” says Dr. Marco Angulo, Chief Medical Officer and Family Medicine Physician at Serve the People Community Clinic in Santa Ana. “Instead of jumping from room to room, prescribing medicine, and sending people on their way, the Group Medical Visit model lets me spend more time with my patients, teaching them how to manage their own health needs and giving them the tools to make better choices.”
Groups meet regularly and include between nine and 12 patients. Trained facilitators and Health Scholars set ground rules, introduce new topics, guide conversations, and engage patients in health-related activities. Clinic physicians measure and chart patients’ progress monthly, keeping track of both mental and physical improvements. Particulars vary clinic to clinic, but staffers at each facility report patients are thriving. Not only are they learning from experts, but participants also are sharing best practices and facing challenges together.
GMVs help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation that patients with chronic conditions and related complications often experience and provide a forum for trading effective self-management skills and encouraging self-sufficiency.
"I have four months coming to the group medical visits, and I enjoy learning more about diabetes with others. I get to see what is working well for my peers and learn the similar struggles we share. Since coming to the visits, I have learned so much about natural remedies to reduce my sugar levels and have incorporated aloe vera and chia into my diet now," says Alvaro Hernandez, a patient at Serve the People Community Health Center in Santa Ana, CA.
“Politicians love tossing out buzzwords like ‘patient-centered care,’ but our network of Live Healthy OC community clinics actually is implementing patient-centered care,” adds Dr. David Kilgore, Principal Investigator and Director, Integrative Medicine Track, UC Irvine School of Medicine Family Medicine Residency. “Our clinics are helping patients explore all the facets of their lives that impact health, from food and sleep to exercise and stress management. And most importantly, we rely on feedback to refine our programs as they move along, making sure we are meeting patients where they are to maximize impact.”
Participating clinics -- divided into Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 based on when they joined the Live Healthy OC initiative -- include the following: Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Center for Inherited Blood Disorders (CIBD), North Orange County Regional Healthcare Foundation (NOCRHF), Serve the People Community Health Center, VNCOC Southland Health Center, Families Together of Orange County (FTOC), and Korean Community Services, Inc. (KCS). They meet quarterly to discuss progress and best practices.
About Live Healthy OC
Live Healthy OC is funded by a grant from the UniHealth Foundation, along with support from the Health Funders Partnership of Orange County, UC Irvine School of Medicine, the Samueli Foundation, the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine (SSCIM), The Kay Family Foundation, Blue Shield Foundation of California, and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. The Initiative will run through December 2018.
Contact: Rhonda M. Smith | [email protected] | 305-812-2573