Bronson Battle Creek (BBC) announced plans to seek designation as a teaching hospital, an effort that will expand healthcare access, aid in the recruitment of new physicians, and support economic vitality in Battle Creek. Bronson Healthcare, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed), and Grace Health are working together to develop a new residency training program in family medicine. Once approved and operational, the Battle Creek residency will be a destination for recent medical school graduates from across the nation to complete the training and study required to become family medicine providers. “Most people are aware that our nation faces a shortage of physicians,” said Frank Sardone, president and CEO of the Bronson Healthcare system. Bronson is committed to doing all we can to improve access to care in our region. Establishing a teaching program at Bronson Battle Creek, similar to what we have in Kalamazoo, is a purposeful way to expand the base of primary care providers now and well into the future.” “This new Family Medicine residency at Bronson Battle Creek will further our growing efforts in graduate medical education,” said Hal B. Jenson, MD, MBA, founding dean of WMed. “There are more than 200 resident physicians receiving training through our program already. WMed is working to ensure that exceptional physicians are available to meet the needs of southwest Michigan, the state, and the nation.” Six new physicians will be accepted into the three year curriculum each year. Once the residency is fully operational there will be 18 family medicine residents practicing in the community at any given time. Residents will spend time rounding and learning in virtually every medical discipline that Bronson Battle Creek offers. Training will be provided by new residency teaching staff and by members of the BBC medical staff. Grace Health, Battle Creek’s federally qualified family health center, will serve as the outpatient training site for the residency. “Physicians who are fortunate to be part of this residency will learn and participate in our integrated model of care,” said Grace Health president/CEO A.J. Jones, ND. “They will serve alongside our team of employed physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, behavioral health consultants and dentists – learning, seeing patients, experiencing a real practice in which different disciplines work together to provide coordinated, patient-centered care.” Startup funding for the BBC family medicine residency is being provided by three significant grants of $1 million each from the Bronson Healthcare Group, Bronson Battle Creek Hospital Community Partners, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. All three funders cite the unique opportunity for this program to both strengthen healthcare services in Calhoun County and to build a more robust local economy. “What a terrific opportunity to impact the future of Battle Creek,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “For each of the community partners engaged in this exciting venture, we envision a win-win-win opportunity. These physician residents will provide care to residents of our area during their three years of training in Battle Creek; a significant number may then choose to stay in our community and create new practices or join existing ones; and throughout the process there is a positive economic impact on our economy – with the arrival of new teaching faculty, physician residents, and their families living and playing in Battle Creek.” Status as a teaching hospital is expected to bring enormous benefit to the health and vitality of the Battle Creek community: Studies indicate that teaching hospitals have a higher overall quality of care than non-teaching hospitals; Teaching hospitals are better able to recruit and retain physicians; Teaching hospitals serve as a pipeline for new medical staff in a community (nearly half of residents choose to practice within 50-miles of their training); BBC status as a teaching hospital will bring jobs and investment to Battle Creek. “This is an important day for Bronson Battle Creek and all of Calhoun County,” said Bronson Battle Creek chief operating officer Jim McKernan, BSN, MBA. “We are honored to become a teaching hospital and prepare the next generation of primary care providers. Many members of our medical staff have enthusiastically expressed interest in sharing their experience as faculty; and the arrival of additional teaching staff and the medical school graduates themselves will create a dynamic environment for learning and patient-centered practice.” Work on the new residency has been underway for more than a year. If all goes as expected, approval will come in early 2017; recruitment for the first class will begin soon after; and training of the initial class of family physicians would begin in the summer of 2018.
Grace Health recently received full approval from the Centering Healthcare Institute as an official Centering site. Per the Centering Healthcare Institute, it is unusual for any site to receive full approval with their initial application. What is Centering? With CenteringPregnancy, women meet with their healthcare provider and other women with similar due dates throughout their pregnancy. Grace Health started CenteringPregnancy in 2015 with its first group meeting on June 3. During the first meeting, women spent 2 hours with their nurse midwife and nurse getting all of their questions answered plus they learned from the other women in the group by sharing their experiences. CenteringPregnancy offers monthly visits for the first five months and then every two weeks until birth. After the babies are born, the groups have a reunion and share birth stories. As a result of Centering, there are better health outcomes, women gain more self-confidence, and they build friendships that can last a lifetime. A total of 43% of eligible pregnant women seen at Grace Health are being served through Centering. What do they have to say about Centering? 100% of the women are highly satisfied with the care they received through Centering. Many have stated that they recommend it to others. Breastfeeding rates for Grace Health Centering participants is 83% compared to Grace Health’s overall rate of 79%. Grace Health’s prematurity rate is significantly lower than the rest of Calhoun County and the State. The most recent data available from the State (2014) reports the prematurity rate at 12.3%; Calhoun County, for the same timeframe, is 10.8%. Grace Health’s prematurity rate for 2015 was 7.2% and year to date through August 2016 is 4.5%. Given the success of CenteringPregnancy, Grace Health will soon be starting CenteringParenting. CenteringParenting begins after the baby is born, recognizes the importance of mom’s and baby’s health, and keeps parents engaged in their child’s care.
On October 11 -13, 2016, three surveyors for Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) completed an Operational Site Visit at Grace Health (GH). Since GH is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), there are a total of 19 federal program requirements GH has to meet. At the end of the assessment, the surveyors gave GH the highest rating and informed GH management and Board of Directors that all 19 program requirements have been met. GH also met all 19 program requirements during its previous site visit in 2012. It is rare for a health center to meet all 19 requirements: the surveyors commented it is extremely rare to meet all 19 requirements two times in a row. The purpose of HRSA’s Operational Site Visit is to provide an objective assessment and verification that each Health Center Program grantee is in compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements of the Health Center Program, as well as a review of progress on clinical and financial performance. Site Visits are performed at least once during the Health Center’s project period (approximately every 3 years). The three main categories reviewed for the 19 program requirements include: Services, Management and Finance, and Governance. GH first received Community Health Center (CHC) designation from the government in 1992 and in 2007 also received designation as Health Care for Homeless (HCH). GH is the largest CHC in Calhoun County and provided over 132,000 services for just over 30,000 patients in 2015. It is anticipated almost 140,000 services will be provided in 2016. If you have questions or would like more information about GH, call 269-965-8866 or visit the website at www.gracehealthmi.org.
Wanda Graves tried several weight loss programs which worked for a while; however, she would eventually gain the weight back. In December 2010, she tried a new approach. Wanda Graves went to Grace Health and began meeting with Amy Dandenault, Holistic Health Educator. Amy taught her about small changes she could make to improve her health. The healthy lifestyle changes were done one step at a time – making the goal attainable rather than overwhelming. In the beginning, Wanda’s first change was to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Over the years, she has increased her exercise and can now be seen working out at the Battle Creek Y-Center 5-6 times a week. She recently participated in the Y-Center’s Healthier You Challenge and was a member of the winning team which helped her lose an additional 20 lbs. Not only did Wanda start exercising, but she also learned about healthier food choices. During her meetings with Amy at Grace Health, Wanda learned what foods are healthier choices and adjustments that can be made so she can still go out to eat with friends. She now eats more fruits and vegetables. When asked what was one of the biggest changes she made, Wanda responded by saying she stopped drinking soda. Her choice of beverage is water and plenty of it. Besides not drinking soda, another big change Wanda made was exercise. In the beginning, she struggled to walk on the treadmill and could only use the elliptical machine for five minutes at a time. So she began taking Water Aerobics classes at the Y-Center where she found she could move freely without her weight causing discomfort on her knees and ankles. As she lost weight, she graduated to taking a Kettlebell class, weight training and other classes available at the Y-Center. Since she began this journey, Wanda has lost a total of 77 lbs, going from size 26 down to size 10. Prior to her weight loss, she was having ankle and bone pain. Her bone density is now improved and the previous chronic conditions she had have turned around. Wanda is healthier, happier, and feeling good. Her health has improved and she no longer has to visit the doctor multiple times during the year. Wanda stated she hopes her story will encourage others. Weight loss and improved health is attainable if you take it one step at a time. Set goals that are realistic and achievable.
Breastmilk is the best milk that can be provided to babies since it contains antibodies that help them fight off viruses and bacteria. However, it has been found that most moms struggle with breastfeeding and want to quit within the first 48-72 hours. In an effort to help moms with breastfeeding, Grace Health has 3 Certified Lactation Counselors – Rickeshia Hubbard, CLS; Cindy Standish, RN; Robin Powell, RN – and 1 Certified Lactation Consultant – Heather Foulke, CNM – available to assist. Grace Health’s Certified Lactation Counselors meet with moms within 2 – 3 days after being discharged from the hospital, sometimes sooner if there is a medical need. At the first visit, the Certified Lactation Counselor provides breastfeeding education and support. She also discusses the birthing experience and birth weight if the mom is having any issues or is uncomfortable. A breast exam and feeding observation are also done. After the first visit if there are weight or feeding concerns, moms meet with the Certified Lactation Counselor as many times as necessary until the baby is back to birth weight or there is no longer a need for support. During this time, moms gain confidence and become comfortable with their choice and style of giving their babies breastmilk. Moms have more options than just putting the baby to breast and upon learning this it usually eases the mom’s frustration and allows them to make the best choice for what works for them. Moms are taught that while putting the baby to breast is ideal, breast milk is the best milk regardless of how it is fed to the baby. Grace Health’s Certified Lactation Counselors have been helping several moms in our community with breastfeeding. Here is what one mom said about her experience: “It was amazing to get help from Rickeshia in pediatrics from day one. We had some difficulties in the beginning that she was able to troubleshoot before they became bigger issues. Our breastfeeding experience has been a more positive one because of the support we received and now we have a happy and healthy baby. I know the benefits of breastfeeding, but as a first time mom I’ve realized how important the support is not only in getting started but also in sustaining breastfeeding.” If you have questions about breastfeeding, contact one of Grace Health’s Certified Lactation Counselors at 269-441-3443 (OB/GYN) or 269-441-3454 (Pediatrics).
On July 14, 1986 the North Avenue Women’s Center (now Grace Health) opened its doors for the first time to provide women’s health services in our community. What started as seed faith money from W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a small number of staff providing care for just over 900 patients has now grown to the largest non-profit health center in Calhoun County with over 300 staff members providing care for almost 40,000 patients with more than 140,000 visits expected in 2016. Grace Health continues to increase access to care by providing expanded hours in Medical (open Monday – Friday 7:00 am – 8:00 pm) and Dental (open Monday – Saturday 7:00 am – 8:00 pm). Walk-in hours were also added to make it easier for patients to receive care when needed. In the past 30 years, the Center has changed its name 3 times. It began as North Avenue Women’s Center, then changed to Family Health Center of Battle Creek and last year changed to Grace Health. Although Grace Health started by only providing women’s health services, additional services were added in order to provide health care for the entire family and to meet the increasing needs within the community for access to quality care. Grace Health services include: Pediatrics; Family Practice; Internal Medicine; Dental; Ear, Nose, Throat and Audiology Services; Behavioral Health; and Vision/Optometry. Other services provided by Grace Health are: on-site interpreters, Portable Dental, Patient Advocates, Outreach & Enrollment Counselors, Maternal and Infant Health Program, CenteringPregnancy, Maternal Oral Health Program, Diabetic classes, Nutrition Counseling, Behavioral Health Group Therapy classes, Reach Out & Read program, and much more. The needs of Grace Health’s patients and the community are evaluated on a regular basis and Grace Health continues to look for ways it can expand services to meet the ever increasing needs. Within the past few years, Grace Health’s Behavioral Health staff has continued to grow and are now in each department to meet patients’ needs. Not only has Grace Health increased services provided in Battle Creek, but it also added a site in Albion back in 2003 which currently provides dental services. Along with the addition of services, came the need to move to a new building and later multiple expansions and renovations. Grace Health was first located at 632 North Avenue and moved to its current building, located at 181 West Emmett Street, Battle Creek in February 1998. The multiple expansions and renovations that have been done throughout the building helped to increase efficiency and quality of care for patients. The main building (west campus) is now 66,000 square feet and the OB/GYN building (east campus) is 45,000 square feet for a total of 111,000 square feet at the Battle Creek location. Throughout Grace Health’s 30-year history, its mission has stayed the same: At Grace Health, we provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate services at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity. Grace Health is accepting new patients. Scheduled appointments and walk-in hours are available. If you have questions or would like additional information, call 269-965-8866 or visit the website at www.gracehealthmi.org. Grace Health thanks our community for all their support these past 30 years.
On June 25, 2016, Grace Health located in Battle Creek, Michigan was awarded PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home) recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Patient-Centered Medical Home Program for 2016 – 2019. “NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “Recognition shows that Grace Health has the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.” The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home program reflects the input of the American College of Physicians (ACP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and others. It was developed to assess whether clinical practices are functioning as medical homes and recognize them for these efforts. The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home standards emphasize the use of systematic, patient-centered, coordinated care that support access, communication and patient involvement. This recognition aligns with Grace Health’s mission which states, “At Grace Health, we provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate service at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity.” Although Grace Health is PCMH Recognized by the NCQA, the Center continues to evaluate processes and services provided to help ensure the needs of its patients are being met.
June 3, 2016 marked the first anniversary of CenteringPregnancy at Grace Health. With CenteringPregnancy, women meet with their healthcare provider and other women with similar due dates throughout their pregnancy. This first group included 9 women who were due around November. The women spent 2 hours with their nurse midwife and nurse getting all of their questions answered plus they learned from the other women in the group by sharing their experiences. The women also received a complimentary book regarding pregnancy. CenteringPregnancy offers monthly visits for the first 5 months and every two weeks until the birth. After the women had their babies, a reunion was held on December 30, 2015, with the women, their support person, and their babies. The group got together at Grace Health for the 1st anniversary of CenteringPregnancy. Although they have completed the program, the women still stay in contact with one another. It has been found that CenteringPregnancy not only provides women and their support person with educational information about their pregnancy and what it expect, but it also gives them the opportunity to create lasting friendships. What do our patients think about Centering? “It is very helpful and a great way to meet other moms”. Several patients commented that they liked having other mothers in their same situation to talk with and relate to. One of the father’s said he would recommend it to everyone as a way to go through a pregnancy and receive prenatal care.
Two of Grace Health’s certified nurse midwives, Bethany Gonzalez, CNM and Heather Foulke, CNM, recently completed Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) training in Kalamazoo at Western Medical School for Family Practice. Sonya Datta-Sandhu, CNM and Kerrie Tollerud, CNM completed this training a month ago in Chicago at University of Illinois Family Practice Residency Program – Grace Health now has a total of 4 Certified Nurse Midwives trained in ALSO. ALSO is an evidence-based multi-disciplinary training program that prepares maternity health care providers to better manage obstetric emergencies. The training helps to bridge gaps in knowledge and boost skill sets by using a team-based approach, hands-on training, and mnemonics to reduce errors and save lives. During the training Bethany and Heather learned team-based approaches in managing emergency situations, including postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, and pre-eclampsia. The ALSO training also addressed preventive care and practice concerns, such as, first-trimester complications, communication techniques to enhance team interactions and safety in patient care, helping parents cope with a birth crisis, diagnostic ultrasound, and putting evidenced-based practice to work. After completing the training, written exam and simulation, Bethany’s and Heather’s skills have increased and they are now better prepared to respond to obstetrical emergencies. Participating in evidence-based programs, is one of the ways Grace Health providers enhance their skills to improve health care provided within our community. Grace Health’s mission is to provide quality care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate service at all times with recognition of their personal dignity.
Grace Health and the Kalamazoo Chapter of American Sewing Guild are partnering to provide sleepers for Grace Health’s newborns. On Tuesday, April 12, we will be cutting fabric and assembling kits with directions for sewing safe sleepers. Everyone is invited to drop in and spend an hour or two, or the whole day. Our goal is to make 200 safe sleepers. Volunteers are needed for: Greeting and signing in people Cutting fabric into sleeper lengths Cutting out the sleepers Assembling kits with the necessary parts Checking and packing kits into boxes Check out kits to Sewing Guild members who will sew at home When: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Where: Grace Health’s Sanitas Conference Center – Entrance A, 181 West Emmett Street, Battle Creek, MI 49037 When you arrive, come in Entrance A and take either the elevator or stairs to the lower level. Prevention of infant deaths is a priority of Calhoun County. Sleep related deaths are preventable. Join us on Community Fabric Cutting Day and help us with the safe sleepers so we can keep our youngest members of the community safe. RSVP is not necessary, but appreciated for refreshments. To RSVP or get additional information, call 269-441-3467.