Packard Community Clinic
Spring Newsletter 1998
"Probably only a third of the physicians in this area could still be called in some sense the old family doctor. Everybody else is corporatized and working for someone."
New Group Supports Noncorporate Medicine
The familiar line about the weather is that everyone talks about it but nobody does anything.
Dr. Jerry Walden and a number of his physician colleagues see no reason why the same should be true of corporate medicine and managed care. Since last fall, they have been building an organization called Allied Primary Care, whose goal is to support the ability of independent medical practitioners—like those at Packard Community Clinic—to function outside corporate environments.
Dr. Walden and Dr. Allen D. Dumont, an Ann Arbor pediatrician, founded the organization, which now has about 30 dues-paying members and another 30 who have participated or shown interest in some way. It’s not only an effort to help noncorporate entities survive in our current health care system, but also an attempt to enhance their chances by adopting some of the efficiencies and managerial skills of a larger cooperative group.
"Most of these are solo practitioners or, at the most, two independent practitioners or doctors," says Dr. Walden. "Probably only a third of the physicians in this area could still be called in some sense the old family doctor. Everybody else is corporatized and working for someone."
Dr. Walden says "there’s a lot of support" for the organization. "We’ve gotten comments from doctors saying that until this group had formed, they thought things were hopeless for them in this county. People are very concerned about the big groups steamrolling them."
Packard has historically been concerned with the health of the society in which its patients live, as well as of the patients themselves. This is one more example, and one that could be an important part of helping Packard itself survive.
"A Prescription to Read"
PCC, in collaboration with the Baby Book Club is proud to announce our new program, "A Prescription to Read." This program is a collaborative program between Packard Community Clinic and the Baby Book Club designed as an incentive to encourage families to keep clinic appointments for their children as well as promoting literacy. The two organizations wish to combine their energies, merging medical care with the development of a love of reading.
We know that children who receive proper health care are happier and enter school ready to learn. Also, a 1985 study by the National Commission on Literacy found that reading aloud to children when they were young was the single most important tool in helping them to learn.
Our new program will work to provide incentives both for children to receive the health care which they need in these important early years, and also to promote early interest in reading. The waiting room will be stocked with a variety of age appropriate books for parents and children to enjoy. A volunteer will be on hand to greet the families, read stories, and encourage the selection of books. At the conclusion of the appointment the clinic nurse or doctor will write out a formal prescription for each child who comes in for a medical appointment that states, "Read one book daily". Each child (or guardian) will be invited to select a free book to take home.
Once again, PCC seeks to expand our traditional notions of health care to include services which support our children and families to achieve their maximum potential.
A Visit to Chiapas
PCC's sense of health care responsibility extends not only beyond the borders of its "service area" but even beyond the borders of the country.
Dr. Jerry Walden and Julie Tiplady Walden, Packard's administrator, visited the troubled Mexican state of Chiapas for the fifth time in as many years in January, providing medical services to the indigenous Mayan people who have been driven from their homes by paramilitary gangs.
"We saw a thousand people living under a tent in the dirt in the highlands," says Tiplady Walden. "People were living in very destitute conditions with little food, water or sanitary conditions."
She says the visit was "part of our concern for the welfare of our entire world community."
That concern requires constant vigilance by American citizens, says Dr. Walden. "This intimidation and low-level warfare that's going on in Mexico are tied to our own School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Ga., which has also been involved in other Latin American countries in a negative way," he says. "Peace-loving people ought to keep an eye on the School of the Americas and urge their congresspeople to consider closing it, and continue to monitor our government and its policies of being more friendly to business than to human rights and human health."
Maintaining the Mission
"The primary mission of the Packard Community Clinic family practice is to bring high-quality, comprehensive medical care on a very personal level to all patients, and especially to those who cannot afford it."
That's been our mission statement for 25 years. How best to continue implementing it for the next quarter century, in an increasingly inhospitable health care environment, was the focus of strategic planning retreats by both the Packard staff and its board of directors.
The impetus for this is the dynamics that are impacting health care in general," says Packard administrator Julie Tiplady Walden. "We're looking at how best to survive, and preserve our commitment to quality care and our mission."
This is the sober part of the silver anniversary celebration. "At the staff level, the retreat focused on communication issues and how we can improve ourselves as a team in providing the best services to our patients," says Tiplady. "At the board level, we were focused on how Packard might function in an increasingly competitive and corporate marketplace."
Assisting at both retreats was Catherine F. Kinney, of Kinney Associates, a nationally known health care organizational consultant.
Packard, U-M Team Up In National Diabetes Study
Packard patients will benefit soon-and patients everywhere may eventually benefit-from a major study of diabetic care in which the clinic is participating.
"We'll be working collaboratively with people at U of M to help them conduct the research and, in the process, provide some ongoing support and education for our patients with chronic diabetes," says Julie Tiplady Walden, Packard administrator.
Dr. Roland G. Hiss, professor and chair of postgraduate medicine and health professions education at the U-M School of Medicine, is the local principal investigator for the study, which looks at the value of ongoing preventive care in heading off some of the major calamities that can befall diabetics who fail to get treatment.
"Because it's an asymptomatic disease and poorly understood, people often don't get care or do the things that are most important for them," says Dr. Jerry Walden. "There's usually about a 20-year hiatus and the roof falls in and people start to lose limbs, have heart attacks and renal disease, so timely intervention during that period makes all the difference. We are trying to prove that proactive intervention in diabetic care to the underinsured is valuable."
What Packard patients get is a good, thorough assessment and, if they become part of the group that is randomized to intervention, the opportunity to develop a wellness program tailored to their needs with Mary Lou Gillard, the nurse educator who works with this project.
"We're very excited about it," says Dr. Walden. "This program not only is an in-depth assessment, but it allows people to decide exactly what to do themselves with the knowledge that they've gained."
A Yearlong Party
Its theme is "Health as a Celebration of Life."
It's a yearlong series of health events, starting with an open house in the fall at Packard, along with a nationally known keynote speaker (we can't tell you who just yet!).
It's Packard's 25th birthday party, and the plans are coming along nicely, thanks in large part to a steering committee that's been meeting since January. "Our goal now is to develop eight to 10 programs throughout 1998-99 that will touch on various aspects of health that are of importance to all of us," says Julie Tiplady Walden, Packard administrator.
Programs will be held both at Packard and other community locations. "At the end of our series, we would intend to have a wrapup speaker that would help us integrate our notions about what kind of issues are relevant to our health needs and to health in this community," she adds.
Anyone who has ideas for lectures, workshops or other programs, or just wants to help with the party, can drop a note to the clinic, call Julie at 734-971-1073, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Be Patient While We Relearn
Through most of the spring and summer, at least, the folks at Packard will be busy learning and implementing our new computer system. This will help us do our job better, make our records more accurate, and help people get their care more efficiently. Eventually.
For a while, however, it could require a little extra patience on everyone's part. As with our building project, the long-term benefits will be worth it.
Program Aids The Uninsured
Here's a tip to the uninsured, and their friends: PCC now participates in a new program sponsored by Washtenaw County for people without insurance. It's called Washtenaw County Health Program (catchy, huh?) and Packard offers both applications and help in getting them approved.
The county has traditionally had a $500,000 budget devoted to inpatient care for low-income people, but is now spending it on outpatient care. Individuals on Medicaid are not eligible for the program, and verification of income must be provided.
Our Family Grows
Thanks to Packard and other area facilities, former patients of the Marshall Becker Clinic won't become health care orphans.
The clinic, which has operated a half-day per month at the University of Michigan, is closing, and the physicians who ran it sought other clinics in the area to take their patients.
"They asked if we would receive the ones that want to come here and we said we will," says Dr. Jerry Walden. He said there were about 200 patients at the clinic but he doesn't know how many will be new members of the PCC community.
PCC Holds Nineteenth Free Annual Health Fair
It is that time of year again. The sun is shining, school days are over for another season, and everyone is looking forward to an assortment of fun summer activities. PCC, for the nineteenth year, will be providing annual physicals to all kids in the community on Friday, June 12, 1998. The hours are 9 am to 2;30 pm. And the price is right! People under the age of 18 need only show up to be examined, and they'll be guided through the process. No appointment is necessary.
Young people must bring their immunization records and a parent or guardian in order to be immunized. Come join us for this annual event, and we will make sure your child is healthy for sports activities, camp, or just for fun.
Don't miss this great chance to make sure your child is ready and able to make the most of all that summer has to offer!
Help Build ‘Mary’s Ramp’
One of Packard’s patients needs our help. She’s a Medicaid mom from Wayne County who’s had two severe strokes that have left her unable to stand unsupported. She needs to have a ramp about three feet high built to allow her wheelchair access to her and her daughter’s home.
We need donations—either of money or skilled assistance. Any builders, tradespeople or handy helpers who could donate "sweat equity" are welcome. So are financial contributions. Call Packard at 971-1073 for more information, or send a check made payable to Packard Community Clinic with a notation that it’s for "Mary’s Ramp."
And thanks in advance. We’ll keep you posted on her progress.
Jerry Walden, M.D.
David Ginsberg, M.D.
Julie Walker, R.N.
Board of Directors
LeRoy Cappaert, President
Sarita Bates, Vice President
Gerda Schlansker, Treasurer
Sue Burton, Secretary
Jerry Walden, M.D.
Gina Amalfitano, M.D.
Laverne Jackson Barker
Ted Beals, M.D.
Bonnie Billups, Jr.
Cassie Cammann, M.S.W.
Angelos Constantinides, D.O.
Eugene V. Douvan
Johan Elliot, M.D., M.P.H.
Carl E. Gingles, D.D.S.
Vicky I. Henry
Rev. Judy Jahnke
Manfred Marcus, M.D.
Joe D. Morris, M.D.
Rev. Kenneth Phifer