The Resource Center recently hosted a reception at its Carl Cappa Building on East Second Street to thank the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation for a $200,000 grant that helped pay for the purchase and implementation of Allscripts, a practice management and electronic health record system.
Linda Swanson, Sheldon Foundation's executive director, toured the newly renovated lobby and waiting room for TRC's primary care office. She had the opportunity to mingle with some of the agency's health care providers, all of whom praised the positive effect the electronic health records system has had in the way they manage their patients' health.
"This system has been a life-saver," Dr. Mumtaz Karimi told Mrs. Swanson.
Linda Swanson, the executive director of the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, holds a painting the foundation was given in appreciation for its $200,000 grant to The Resource Center to implement an electronic health records system. Pictured with Ms. Swanson are, from left: Dr. Thomas Putnam; Emily Herman, physician assistant; Dr. Adnan Munir; Julie Kohler, TRC’s practice manager; Ryan Mayle, physician assistant; Dr. Harry Glatz; and Paul Cesana, TRC’s executive director.
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Paul Cesana, The Resource Center's executive director, said The Resource Center years ago made a commitment to offering health care services to the entire community, including people living on the margins who often are ignored in terms of their potential. He said Sheldon Foundation officials, aware of the important role the center plays in the area's health-care delivery system, "reached out and gave tangible support" to TRC's initiative to implement an electronic health records system. He said the system has enabled TRC to become more effective in managing patient health, leading to better health results for those who use TRC's primary care office.
"We wanted to really impress on you how critical your contribution has been to position us to become self sustaining and improve people's health," Cesana told Mrs. Swanson.
"This is the best thing which has happened to this practice," said Dr. Adnan Munir, the medical director for TRC's Diagnostic and Treatment Center and one of three physicians who practice at the primary care office.
He said implementation of the electronic health record system means no more paper charts and that a patient's medical history is literally at the doctors' fingertips. The electronic health records system enables him to access a patient's medical records from home during off hours if an emergency arises.
"Thank you on behalf of all of the practitioners and the staff," he said to Mrs. Swanson.
Munir emphasized that TRC's primary care services are available to anyone.
"We provide care to the community. We are open to everyone; we don't pick and choose," he said, referencing the fact The Resource Center is one of the few local providers that accepts Medicaid.
He said The Resource Center recently has expanded its capacity by hiring several physician assistants.
Dr. Harry Glatz, who served on TRC's board of directors when the electronic health records system was implemented last year, mentioned that Mrs. Swanson's father, the late Dr. John Voltmann, was The Resource Center's medical director for many years. Noting that many of the people The Resource Center supports have complex health, physical, psychological and financial problems, Glatz said, "It makes me aware of how complicated and time consuming their treatment can be. I marvel at our providers."
The Resource Center accepts private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare and has experienced challenges in obtaining enhanced reimbursement rates. Glatz said, "Funds for our type of clinic are limited" and that the Sheldon Foundation's grant was a big boost to the agency.
Mrs. Swanson commended TRC on putting together a good grant application that was a "recognition that you really were working earnestly toward" acquiring an electronic health records system and aggressively going after federal incentives to implement a system. She said Sheldon Foundation officials were appreciative of the fact that in addition to meeting the primary care needs of the people with disabilities that TRC supports, The Resource Center also undertook the commitment to meet the needs of other community residents who had difficulty accessing health care.
"You are vital to providing primary care to our community," she told TRC's staff.
Noting that TRC is one of Chautauqua County's largest employers, Mrs. Swanson said, "I applaud how you bring in staff and encourage them to become lifelong learners."
On behalf of the Sheldon Foundation, Mrs. Swanson was presented with a plaque and a painting made by an individual with disabilities who participates in TRC's "Creations" art program.
During an informal luncheon, TRC staff gave Mrs. Swanson a demonstration of how the EHR system works and told her about the coordinated effort it took for various people to learn the system so that the EHR could "go live" at nine sites on the same day: TRC's primary care office; the agency's dental offices in Jamestown and Dunkirk; TRC's Diagnostic and Treatment Center locations in Jamestown and Dunkirk; the agency's Counseling and Psychiatric Services office in Jamestown; the school-based health centers TRC operates at Jamestown High School and Pine Valley Central School; and the clinic TRC operates at Heritage Centers in Buffalo.
TRC's primary care office is located at 890 E. Second St. The agency also operates a satellite office in its Michael J. Raymond Center, 75 Jones & Gifford Ave. For more information, call 661-1447.