Friday Memo- July 26, 2019

Dear Team –

            Every other Monday Community Healthcare Network’s Training and Education Department (TED) begins the orientation process for a new group of CHN employees. TED staff members do a great job grounding the rookies in the basics of CHN.

            Then, toward the end of each orientation day, I join the group – usually between seven and 15 people – and ask them to introduce themselves. I then deliver a high-level view of the vision that is CHN.

            That conversation starts with how CHN aspires to deliver healthcare. We want to see each person in their entirety, searching for the individual approach that will get patients to the best health outcomes possible. We recognize that people are complex, and so too are healthcare solutions. That is why CHN teams pull together to address the medical, behavioral, social, nutritional, and educational – I could go on – needs of our patients.

            The orientation message to new staff is that unless each CHN employee succeeds, none will. Just as our healthcare delivery is interdependent on various services, so too is each CHN team member dependent on the others. 

            If the Contact Center falters in scheduling, no provider will be able to satisfy fully a patient. If a Medical Office Specialist at a front desk is not warmly welcoming and registering the patient, it is not likely that a patient will have a positive visit. If the Center is not spotless because a custodian misses a room, trouble. We all depend on each other to get our jobs done well.

            We all recognize that, every day. But there is more.

             Our appreciation of teamwork now extends well beyond the walls of our health centers, annexes, and administrative offices. Example: a most fundamental responsibility we have to our patients is to get them specialty appointments when needed. This is not directly under our control, yet our Referral Department starts early and works late to make that happen.  Medical Affairs leadership is developing new and innovative relationships to improve referrals.

             We connect to allies throughout the City, both to improve our own delivery of care and to advance better health systems across all New York communities. CHN participates in dozens of national, statewide, and citywide organizations.

            CHN staff, me included,  are actively engaged with our trade group, Community Health Centers Association of New York State (CHCANYS). Given our deep commitment to the mental health of our patients, CHN now serves on the board of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, and we work closely with another statewide advocacy collaborative, the Human Services Council.

            We are a sponsor and board member of Amida Care, the special needs health plan for people with HIV and people at high risk of HIV infection. Beyond Amida Care, CHN leaders are deeply involved with many other groups waging the war to end the HIV epidemic.

            We participate in family planning and reproductive health groups, and our leadership in Wellness, Human Relations, and Finance stay close to their colleagues in allied organizations.

CHN is forging partnerships on many fronts with organizations aligned with our mission. You know about our deep collaboration with the behavioral health organization ICL (Institute for Community Living), headlined by our joint operation of the East New York Health Hub.

            Earlier this week we launched the “Integration Mobile,” bringing primary care to partners serving people with serious mental illness. Soon, we expect to bring psychiatric care to patients of a new partner, Care for the Homeless. Yesterday, at a day long fair set up at the City’s 30th Street Men’s Shelter, we celebrated our now two year old collaboration with the Department of Homeless Services bringing primary care, and now optometry, to the 400 men quartered in that shelter. 

            Today’s point is plain. Look next to you and recognize that each of us need each other to get our job done decently. We must have each other’s back, and fronts, and sides.

            CHN is part of the broader community as well. We will continue to expand our team by building collaborations across this City to deliver better, more comprehensive care to our patients. CHN, both inside and outside, is not a competitive place; it is a collaborative, embracing place.

            Call it 21st Century healthcare delivery.

            Have a great weekend.    -Bob