MARION — Shawnee Health Services operates several health facilities in Marion, including a dental clinic and a health clinic at Marion High School, as well as a clinic that integrates family medicine, behavioral medicine and case management.
“We have a small clinic in Marion, too small for the staff,” Patsy Jensen, executive director of Shawnee Health Services said.
Sometimes, the kitchen area becomes a work space, so patients can work with a case manager or health care provider. Soon, staff will have better working conditions thanks to a “very low interest loan.”
The organization was awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development loan of $1,150,000, which will allow SHS to purchase and remodel a building to expand their space and services. The building is located at 3111 Williamson County Parkway, across the parking lot from Shawnee Health Care Dental. It was owned by Centerstone.
Jensen said the building will allow Shawnee Health Services to expand its medication assisted treatment of substance use disorders, primary care health care and behavioral medicine services. The location also will add OB-GYN services.
She explained that Marion currently has one obstetrics clinic.
“We believe people should have a choice of providers,” Jensen said.
The Marion campus will be similar to the Carbondale campus, with all services, including pharmacy, in one place.
Some of Shawnee Health Services’ patients are very low income. For those patients, travel to and from appointments can be prohibitive.
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“This way, they can see a doctor and a dentist in the same trip,” Jensen said.
She added that SHS is trying to do a lot more integration of care. Integrated health care looks at the total person for answers to health concerns.
For example, if a person comes to his primary care doctor with blood pressure that is extremely high, the doctor may find out that the cost of his blood pressure medication is too high. The doctor can walk him down the hall to a case manager’s office, introduce the two and let the case manager try to find answers for that patient. They call this model a warm hand-off or WHO.
According to Jensen, this model also works for many types of conditions, including mental health. She explained that traditionally, a primary care physician has to make an appointment for follow up care with another provider. Often, patients to do not keep those follow up appointments.
“The ‘no-show’ rate is so high at follow up appointments,” Jensen said. “Having all these things readily available in one spot really helps patients.”
Jensen said buying the Centerstone building was an incredible opportunity. After a quick remodeling, they expect to be seeing patients very quickly. They hope to be able build an addition to the building, too.
“We’re really excited because we get so many patients who have to travel so far. With obstetrics care, we will be able to provide the follow-up appointments close to home,” Jensen said.
For more information about Shawnee Health Services, visit shawneehealth.com.