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GEFCC Receives National Recognition for Quality of Care – Again

GEFCC’s 2016 outcomes on Bureau of Primary Health Care Clinical Indicators have been recognized as among the best of all Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States and Illinois – for the 4th year in a row!

The Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognized GEFCC as a Health Center Quality Leader and Clinical Quality Improver on August 15, 2017, with Greater Elgin Family Care Center receiving the largest Addressing Health Disparities Award in Illinois. GEFCC also received the 3rd largest Health Center Quality Leader and 3rd largest Enhancing Access to Care Awards in Illinois.

The Awards are in recognition of GEFCC’s 2016 clinical outcomes, which beat the Illinois average on 14 of 15 reported Clinical Indicators. Those same outcomes are ranked in the top 25% in the United States on 10 of 15 Indicators, and in the 26-50% percentile on 4 of the remaining 5.

The recognitions acknowledge that Greater Elgin Family Care Center’s outcomes are far better than most Health Centers in the State and Nationally, on an array of Indicators.

None of the other 43 awarded Community Health Centers in Illinois received a larger HRSA Quality Improvement Grant Award than Greater Elgin Family Care Center, when controlling for number of organizational sites which have achieved Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) recognition. Even when factoring in number of sites PCMH recognized, GEFCC received the 2nd largest total Award in Illinois, despite seeing only the 9th largest number of patients amongst Community Health Centers in the State.

“I believe that the definition of success is not achieving the goal, but maintaining that excellence over a long period of time. This is the 4th year in a row that GEFCC has received such prestigious recognitions from HHS/HRSA. It’s our practitioners and staff who make such excellent patient outcomes continue to happen” said Bob Tanner, President/CEO of Greater Elgin Family Care Center.

GEFCC’s outcomes are available here.

Outcomes of every FQHC in Illinois and the United States are available here.

The Press Release offered by HRSA is available here.

Greater Elgin Family Care Center is a non-profit Community Health Center which provided care to over 46,000 different people via over 158,000 appointments in Fiscal Year 2017. GEFCC offers care out of 9 full-time Health Centers in 4 Chicagoland Counties, and is Accredited and Certified as a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission.

Visit www.gefcc.org for more information.

GEFCC Celebrates 16th Anniversary

GEFCC Birthday

On July 16, 2017, Greater Elgin Family Care Center celebrates 16 years of providing primary health care services. Our Sweet Sixteen birthday!

Like any teenager, our growing up has been full of fits and starts, good days and tough days, and many accomplishments with some setbacks sprinkled in.

But we’re maturing nicely. GEFCC is a leader in the provision of quality care amongst Illinois Community Health Centers, while also continuing to grow multiple times the State and National Averages and keeping our costs lower than the averages as well. Further, the volume of quality care GEFCC provides has only grown each of the past 16 years, and we presently also have the most Practitioners ever affiliated with GEFCC. Our reach and positive impact on residents of local communities has never been larger.

Although our pending adulthood looks very promising, there’s still several external influences which could impact us during this formative period, just like those present that could influence any teenager. Health care reform, funding mechanism changes and managed care all present both opportunities and threats.

But we’ve been raised well. We know how to listen, learn, implement, adjust and improve. And thus there’s every reason to be confident regarding GEFCC’s future.

Happy Birthday Greater Elgin Family Care Center! We’ve done a great job at successfully fulfilling our mission thus far, and I’m sure we’ll continue to do so!

S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence Winners Announced

SPIRIT of Excellence 2017 winners

Throughout the year, our patients and staff nominate GEFCC employees for the S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence Award. This program recognizes team members who have gone above and beyond their regular job responsibilities. The employees nominated through the S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence program contribute to creating an environment where our patients can receive the highest quality of care and our staff can thrive and find personal satisfaction. This employee recognition program has been in place since September 2012 and since then employees and patients have submitted close to 2,500 nominations.

S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence nominations are received for four categories, which include: Patient Liaison, Care Partner, Practitioner, and Organizational Support. GEFCC employees from all departments and Health Centers are nominated by patients and their peers and are recognized in the monthly Employee Newsletter. These nominations are then considered in the selection of the Quarterly Top Performers from each category.

Each year, GEFCC celebrates and recognizes the Quarterly Top Performers at the Annual S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence Banquet, where the Annual S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence Winners are also announced. This year, the Banquet took place on June 19th, 2017 at Elgin Community College. Members from GEFCC’s Leadership Team and the Quarterly Top Performers enjoyed each other’s company over a delicious breakfast.

We are thrilled to announce the 2016-2017 S.P.I.R.I.T. of Excellence Winners:

  • Patient Liaison – Evelyn Rodriguez, Receptionist; Lake Health Center
  • Care Partner – Alejandra Manriquez, Medical Assistant; Summit Health Center
  • Practitioner – Dr. Salman Khaleeluddin, Family Practice Physician; Lake Health Center
  • Organizational Support – Cynthia Corral, Billing Specialist; Slade Health Center

Please join us in congratulating them for the excellent job they have done in service of our patients and our organization.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Break the Silence, Break the Stigma.

Do you know what mental illness feels like? We often hear the clinical terms used by doctors and other professionals to identify the symptoms of mental illnesses…but if someone hasn’t gone through it, would they know how to recognize it?

So often, clinical terms don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. We know that two people with the same diagnosis can experience the same symptom and describe it in very different ways. Understanding the signs of a mental illness and identifying how it can feel can be confusing—and sometimes can contribute to ongoing silence or hesitation to get help.

It’s important for people to talk about how it feels to live with a mental illness. We know that mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. But not everyone knows what to look for when they are going through those early stages, and many simply experience symptoms differently. We all need to speak up early to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.

At Greater Elgin Family Care Center, we strive to meet the needs of the communities we serve. And it is that sense of community that drives our Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) program. We work to help the whole person by collaboration between medical and behavioral healthcare. We also work closely with other agencies in the area to provide appropriate referrals for any ongoing supportive care that is needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns, or if you would like more information regarding mental health, please feel free to talk with your Primary Care Physician or one of our Mental Health providers about the BHI program at Greater Elgin Family Care Center. We provide brief counseling for individuals 12 years and older at both our Slade Health Center in Elgin and McHenry Community Health Center in McHenry. Although our focus is on depression, we often work with individuals with many different concerns. We strive to meet each individual where they are in their process of change as we help guide them to living the life they want to live.

If you would like more information about the Behavioral Health Integration program please contact the Behavioral Health Coordinator at 847-608-1344. If you live in McHenry County, the Behavioral Health Coordinator can be reached at 815-363-9900.

ACS and Greater Elgin Family Care Center Offer a Free “Colon Cancer Prevention and Early Detection” Event in Elgin

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Hispanics in the United States, yet it’s preventable and detectable at an early stage.

The American Cancer Society and Greater Elgin Family Care Center would like to extend an invitation to males and females between the ages of 40 and 70 to participate in an educational event to learn more about colorectal cancer, how to prevent it, and the tests available for early detection.

The event will be held on Saturday, March 25 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Greater Elgin Family Care Center’s Slade Health Center, 901 Center St, Elgin, IL 60120. The program will be presented in Spanish. Participants will have the opportunity to speak with clinical experts and learn more about the services offered by Greater Elgin Family Care Center.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the top killers for all groups. Screening for this disease can be effective and can save lives” said GEFCC Medical Director Dr. Mark Thompson. “Yet to make this screening happen, patients need to be motivated. Such events like this will help increase awareness and motivate patients to carry through with this screening process and hopefully catch this disease in an early stage when it is much more curable.”

For more information about this educational event, please contact Dianna Manjarrez – Community Outreach Liaison at 224-856-4583.

About the American Cancer Society:

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2 million volunteers saving lives in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 23 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

About Greater Elgin Family Care Center:

Greater Elgin Family Care Center [GEFCC] offers health care services via 25 health care access points, nine of which are full-time Health Centers in Elgin, Hanover Park, McHenry, Streamwood, Sycamore and Wheeling. The organization offers Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Family Medicine, Psychiatry/Behavioral Health, Dental Care and an array of supportive services. In 2016, GEFCC practitioners provided care to over 45,000 patients via more than 155,000 medical and dental visits.

GEFCC celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Dental health, while often viewed separately from health care, is very important to the overall wellness of children and can positively or negatively impact a child’s success in school and throughout life.

It’s important that all children, regardless of their insurance status, have access to high quality dental care that is close to home and affordable. Greater Elgin Family Care Center is proud fulfill this responsibility by being the premier provider of children’s dental care for Elgin-area children and students of School District U46 and District 300.

GEFCC believes that dental health is part of comprehensive health care and we strive to provide the highest quality of care to all our patients. GEFCC has been at the forefront addressing gaps in the provision of dental health services in the area since 2001, when Greater Elgin Family Care Center started providing integrated oral health services in partnership with Elgin Community College.

In September of 2007, through a partnership with School District U-46, GEFCC began offering oral health services, including prophylaxis, oral health exams and sealants, in multiple schools throughout the District. These efforts paved the way for the opening of our Children’s Dental Clinic in September, 2008 with the support of Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation. Our school-based program has expanded to include elementary schools in School District U46 and District 300. In 2016, GEFCC provided school-based dental care to 2,203 students.

In addition to collaborating with the Districts, Greater Elgin Family Care Center is fortunate to have a partnership with Altrusa International Club of Elgin’s “Chews to Read” Literacy Program. Throughout this partnership, children in GEFCC’s Dental Clinic have received gift bags from Altrusa members which help reinforce healthy dental habits and healthy reading habits. Altrusa has donated 240 book bags which include Children’s Dental Health Books, Cuddle Animals, reading calendars and book lists. Altrusa also makes monthly gifts of hats, mittens, scarves and socks during the winter months, literacy enrichment materials (puzzles, games, etc.) in the summer months, and school supplies in the fall.

Greater Elgin Family Care Center is also pleased that in 2016 both Federal and Foundation funding was secured to expand our Dental Clinic’s services. As a result of the expansion to be completed in 2017, GEFCC’s Dental Clinic will offer 12 operatories, in addition to the already-purchased and implemented portable dental operatories which are presently used in GEFCC’s expanded school-based oral health care program for children of the Elgin and Carpentersville areas.

GEFCC offers health care services via 25 health care access points, nine of which are full-time Health Centers in Elgin, Hanover Park, McHenry, Streamwood, Sycamore and Wheeling. The organization offers Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Dental Care and an array of supportive services. In 2016, GEFCC practitioners provided care to over 45,000 patients via more than 155,000 medical and dental visits.

GEFCC is accredited by The Joint Commission, indicating compliance with the highest quality standards of health care in the United States, is certified as a Patient Centered/Primary Care Medical Home and provides care regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. The organization is presently recognized as a National Quality Leader, Health Center Quality Leader and Clinical Quality Improver by the Health Resources Services Administration.

A Creekside Christmas

Two Psychiatrists now providing care at McHenry Community Health Center

Greater Elgin Family Care Center (GEFCC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Ebe Chinweze has joined our McHenry Community Health Center team and is providing Psychiatric evaluations, medication monitoring and medication management for McHenry County residents that are 13 years of age and older. Dr. Chinweze joins Dr. Ritu Talwar, who began providing Psychiatric care for McHenry County residents age 15 years and older on July 8, 2016.

Dr. Chinweze received her Doctor of Medicine from Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine, and she completed her 4-year general Psychiatry residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She joins GEFCC with several years of clinical practice in Psychiatry, having previously provided care in private practice in Maryland, at a regional Mental Health Center in Indiana, and at the Cook County Health and Hospital System.

The hiring of both Drs. Chinweze and Talwar was made possible thanks to the generous support of the McHenry County Mental Health Board, which partially funds GEFCC to provide mental health services to residents of McHenry County. GEFCC is thrilled to have both providers on-staff at our McHenry County Mental Health Center.

To make an appointment to see one of our Psychiatrists, please call 815-363-9900.

To learn more about the McHenry County Mental Health Board, please visit https://www.co.mchenry.il.us/county-government/departments-j-z/mental-health-board/

Greater Elgin Family Care Center receives Elgin Township funding

Elgin Township officials informed Greater Elgin Family Care Center today that the Township will be providing funding for PAP smears for uninsured females of the Township. GEFCC expects to begin providing additional PAP smears in its Elgin Health Centers as a result of the funding as soon as the Funding Agreement is completed.

“PAP smears are such a critical component of cancer detection, yet many ladies put it off due to lack of resources and the fact that it’s hard for one to visualize having cancer” said Bob Tanner, President/CEO of Greater Elgin Family Care Center. “With the State significantly reducing funding for uninsured patient PAP smears, it’s quite significant that Elgin Township has stepped up, offering GEFCC resources to provide more smears for our female patients.”

PAP smears are provided at all GEFCC Health Centers, and Elgin Township’s resources will be used to provide more tests for Elgin Township residents.

Appointments can be secured by calling 847.608.1344 or visiting www.gefcc.org.

GEFCC Receives National Recognition for Quality of Care

GEFCC’s 2015 outcomes on Bureau of Primary Health Care Clinical Indicators have been recognized as among the best for all Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States and the best in Illinois.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognized GEFCC as a National Quality Leader, Health Center Quality Leader and Clinical Quality Improver on August 18, 2016, with Greater Elgin Family Care Center receiving the largest National Quality Leader Award in Illinois.

The awards are in recognition of GEFCC’s 2015 outcomes which beat the Illinois average on 14 of 16 Clinical Indicators. Those same outcomes are ranked in the top 25% in the United States on 11 of 16 Indicators, and in the 26-50% percentile on 4 of the remaining 5.

The recognitions acknowledge that Greater Elgin Family Care Center’s outcomes are far better than most Health Centers in the State and Nationally, on an array of Indicators.

No other Federally Qualified Health Center in Illinois which was ranked on at least 15 of the 16 Indicators had better clinical outcomes in 2015 than Greater Elgin Family Care Center.

“There are many reasons for our achievement of such fine outcomes, and chief among them is our commitment to the components of our SPIRIT of Excellence program” said Bob Tanner, President/CEO of Greater Elgin Family Care Center.

“We have never before been recognized in 3 categories: National Quality Leader, Health Center Quality Leader and Clinical Quality Improver. It’s only a testament to our Board and staff, and it’s only our patients who benefit from the quality of care we provide’ he continued.

GEFCC’s outcomes are available at: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/uds/datacenter.aspx?q=d&bid=0515160&state=IL&year=2015

Outcomes of every FQHC in Illinois and the United States are available at: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/uds/datacenter.aspx?q=d

Greater Elgin Family Care Center is a non-profit Community Health Center which provided care to over 43,000 different people via over 146,000 appointments in Fiscal Year 2016. GEFCC offers care out of 9 full-time Health Centers and over 2 dozen part-time locations. GEFCC is Accredited and Certified as a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission.

Visit www.gefcc.org for more information.