Department Spotlight: Medication for Addiction Treatment
Department Spotlight: Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT)
September is National Recovery Month, a month dedicated to bringing awareness to treatment options for substance use and behavioral health disorders, and the difference these treatments can make in the lives of those with these disorders. At Kennedy Community Health, we have a comprehensive and dedicated Medication for Addiction Treatment team that ensures our patients are able to access the tools they need for recovery, including medication, and are engaged in feasible recovery goals tailored to their journey.
Meet the Team!
You will find MAT on the third floor of 19 Tacoma Street in Worcester. The team is made up of Zoey Memmert-Miller, Lead RN, Elyssa Williams, RN, Kat Mendez, RN, Alicia Cooksey, Lead MAT Provider, June Schwartz, Medical Assistant, Dani Rose, CHW, Brandalee Nimtz, Recovery Coach, Dr. Richard Waters, Behavioral Health Provider, Tatiana Martins, Behavioral Health Provider, and Daniel Benavides Vega, Program Coordinator.
Who Does MAT Serve?
They are currently working to outreach historically underserved populations, including those who are homeless or unstably housed, the LGBTQ+ community, individuals who are coming out of or in transition from incarceration, and people facing complex medical conditions. They are also serving the needs of individuals with stimulants use disorders in their enhanced services as Office-Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT). This will translate into a closer, more frequent follow-up from the nursing team, medical providers, behavioral health providers, and our recently hired Recovery Coach.
How Does MAT Help People Live Healthier Lives?
The Kennedy Community Health MAT program works hard to advance our mission to help people live healthier lives by learning and adapting to new care methods. They follow Boston Medical Center’s OBAT model, so our program relies on nurse managers to deliver quality treatment. The team treats substance use disorder as a chronic condition, like hypertension or diabetes, and provides on-going treatment and support on the patient’s journey. As a multidisciplinary team, they treat each patient holistically, including those with dual diagnoses and connect patients with behavioral health services. Many of the team members are bilingual and speak Spanish and French, and are able to work with their patients in their preferred languages.
A fun fact about the team is that 50% of the members were born under the zodiac sign of Taurus. For those who aren’t familiar with these signs, a Taurus is known for being reliable, patient, devoted, and responsible! The team is also filled with big soccer fans and their office is always fully stocked with candy; be sure to stop by the office and say hello!
Department Spotlight: Health Benefit Advisors
Department Spotlight: Health Benefit Advisors/Navigators
“Health insurance is essential for financial planning as it protects the health and well-being of an individual by safeguarding them against high and unexpected health care costs. It allows them to have continuity of care, which contributes to healthier lives,” Ivelisse Delgado, Manager of Registration and Health Insurance Counseling.
What do Health Benefit Advisors/Navigators Do?
Kennedy Community Health’s team of Health Benefits Advisors/Navigators are critical to ensuring equitable access to needed health care services. They achieve this by providing insurance enrollment assistance and renewals, answering complicated insurance questions, and by identifying families that may be un- or under-insured or who may be at risk of losing their health insurance and providing them information about the assistance available to them. Because of the scope of their responsibilities, and the need in the communities we serve, team members can be found at all three sites, working remotely, or attending community events and fairs. A fun fact about the team is that every member is either bilingual or trilingual, which makes outreach at various community sites more impactful.
Meet the Team!
The team is led by Ivelisse Delgado and Jeniffer Alves, both based in Worcester, alongside Dioneris Izquierdo, Isabel Carmona Messa, and Alicia Andrade. In Framingham, the team includes Heloisa Fontes and Amarilis Burgos, and in Milford, you will find Stuardo Urizandi. Our two fully remote team members are Idalia Rodriguez and Julia Figueroa.
More Than Insurance
As a certified Navigator site, all of our health benefits advisors are also certified Navigators, who provide education and enrollment opportunities for patients and community residents who lack healthcare and health insurance access. In addition, the team also provides application and follow-up assistance for enrolled individuals, helps submit premium payments, updates their case files to keep them enrolled, submits verifications, and so much more. The team also receives referrals from the front desk staff, the referrals team, CHWs, providers, and nurses, who reach out to the team when they identify any patients with insurance concerns or lapses in coverage.
As if that wasn’t enough, the team also has a significant initiative underway to provide support to community members accessing the MetroWest Free Medical Program, which provides care to uninsured and underinsured patients in the MetroWest area, to ensure they are aware of and enrolled in insurance plans for which they are eligible. The team is also available at community events, health fairs, and other community locations to better reach underserved populations.
Department Spotlight: Community Health Workers
Department Spotlight: Tacoma Community Health Workers (CHWs)
Our dedicated team of Community Health Workers (CHWs) are here to help guide and assist patients in navigating the often times confusing health care system. The Tacoma CHW team provides a wide range of services including assisting in scheduling medical appointments, medical education, help with social determinants of health, refugee support, transportation, and so much more!
The Tacoma CHW team comprises many dedicated staff who have been part of the Kennedy Community Health family for years; many of them are part of the “25+ year’s club,” and some have been here for 35 years! Many of our CHWs have left and come back home to our health center with more skills and knowledge to better serve our community. Team members include CHWs, Lizette Perez, Sousn Imam and Robert Arce; C3 CHWs, Monica Salazar and Evette Soto; program-specific CHWs, Sarah Bertrand, Blood Pressure (BP) Control Program, Saedi De La Rosa, BH/BHI, and Claire Powell, CCM Program, Evelyn Rivas and Lissette Melendez, Ryan White program, and Heather (Dani) Rose, MAT. The team is led by CHW Supervisor, Leopoldo Negrón Cruz.
What is a CHW?
A lot falls under the umbrella of responsibilities for our CHWs; they are responsible for assisting with connection, navigation, and coordination of services for short- and medium-term patient needs. They conduct assessments for social determinants of health to identify unmet needs and develop a plan to provide assistance and support. Some examples of these needs include food insecurity, for which CHWs provide referrals to Project Bread for SNAP and HIP benefits or provide on-the-spot assistance in the form of grocery store gift cards, and housing insecurity, for which our CHWs assist them with housing applications, referrals for rentals and evictions, including referrals for legal assistance. In the last two years, CHWs have distributed approximately 275 food vouchers in addition to numerous referrals to food pantries and grocery delivery programs to help patients access healthy foods in their community.
What do CHWs Do?
The team participates in population-based projects to ensure access to care and adherence to treatment protocols. They work with parents to educate them on the importance of Well Child Visits and conducting direct outreach if they miss a visit. They also provide specialized services and education to specific groups such as OB patients, prenatal and postpartum care. The CHWs also work with special populations, like refugees who are resettling in the Worcester area, and provide education on the US healthcare system and other health education topics including when to call 911, use the emergency room, prepare for medical appointments, etc.
Over the past year, the CHWs have played a large role in the COVID-19 response at Kennedy Community Health. The team has been working to contact patients to schedule COVID-19 vaccines at the health center or provide information for other vaccine sites in the community, arranging transportation for patients to get to and from vaccine sites and providing education to help overcome vaccine hesitancy and dispel vaccine myths that have been far too pervasive in the community.
CHWs always have and will continue to play a central role in the care delivery system here at Kennedy Community health and we are endlessly grateful for their dedication and commitment to our patients. Thank you, Tacoma CHWs, for all that you do!
Department Spotlight: Human Resources
Department Spotlight: Human Resources
For Kennedy Community Health to provide the most inclusive, comprehensive, and high-quality care, we must be a strong organization with employees who are passionate about our mission. With the help from our Human Resource department, we are able to find the best people to help our patients live healthier lives.
Where Can I Find HR?
The Human Resource team is located at the new Administration building at 115 NE Cutoff in Worcester. They primarily work remotely and have someone from the department in the office every day of the week. With Ring Central, they’re only a phone call away.
What Does HR Do?
As a whole, the team oversees the human resources function such as recruitment and retention, onboarding, benefits, training, and employee relations. They are usually the first people new candidates meet when joining the organization, so they want to represent Kennedy Community Health positively. If you have a question and don’t know who to ask, give them a call; they can usually answer it or point you in the right direction.
There are currently many ongoing initiatives, such as biweekly onboarding and quarterly new hire orientation. They partner with other departments as needed, particularly during times of change. Recently they began working with our insurance broker to start planning for the medical insurance renewal for 2022, well before the November open enrollment period!
Get to know your HR Department!
Anny Herrera, HR Administrative Assistant: Since joining the organization in 2013, Anny has worked for several different departments, including optometry and dental. Her extensive first-hand knowledge and bilingual skills are helpful to candidates and employees alike. She is also a member of the DEI Committee and the Stand Against Racism Committee.
Terry Burke, Recruitment Coordinator: Terry joined us in 2017. Before joining the Kennedy Community Health team, she worked at UMass Medical School, where she hired Sue Melucci! They were reunited several years later when Terry joined Kennedy Community Health after Sue had been here for a few years.
Darlene Rose, HR Generalist: Darlene is our utility player and, over the years, has worn several different hats as needed in the department. Currently, she manages our benefits and leaves of absence. On the weekends you can find her antiquing!
Caitlin Valdivia, Credentialing Coordinator: Caitlin is a trained phlebotomist and dialysis technician. Before joining us in 2019, she worked as a credentialing specialist at a locum tenens agency. She prefers super-hot weather or cold, snowy weather!
David Small, Vice President of HR: David has been at the health center since 2014. He enjoys New Hire Orientation, and his favorite parts are two truths and a lie and the Marshmallow Challenge. He also did stand-up comedy many years ago with another employee!
Department Spotlight: Medical Records
Department Spotlight: Medical Records
Over the last year, Kennedy Community Health was challenged to continue to provide the best patient care while adapting and learning new techniques across all departments. Our medical records team is no exception. The medical records team, which includes Alice Golden, Frazer Bergin, and Edwin De La Rosa, has worked to adapt in a rapidly changing technology landscape, and more recently during the digital age brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic!
Medical Records Electronic Age
In 2004, medical records started their evolution into the electronic age from the basement of Tacoma with floor-to-ceiling shelves all containing paper records. At the time, the department had ten staff members with pushcarts full of large paper charts for medical providers, who would handwrite notes on pieces of paper. On one side of the charts were diagnostic and specialty reports, and the other side with provider notes and labs. With the introduction of our computerized medical record, Mysis, providers began documenting visits in electronic form.
By 2006, all records were fully electronic. To file the specified document type correctly, medical records staff now needed to know the name and function of each specialty and diagnostics test, which significantly changed the level of medical and computer knowledge required for the position. In 2012, they upgraded to Nextgen.
In 2019, medical records went digital. We started a contract with Disc Corporation to use Smartfiler, a computerized system for filing incoming documents into patient records. The system electronically reads keywords on the document to identify the correct document type. Using patient demographic data exported from Nextgen, it identifies the right patient by name, date of birth, date of service, and primary care provider. This system dramatically changed daily workflows and reduced the risk of human error.
Day to Day in Medical Records
A typical day begins with uploading all of the electronic documents sent to medical records from our medical sites into Smartfiler, followed by the upload of electronic faxes. Paper documents are processed and scanned into the system to upload. Every night, Smartfiler enters these documents directly into the patient’s Nextgen record.
Come Say Hi!
Today, the medical records department is in their new space at 115 Northeast Cutoff, the new administration building. We process 36,000 pages of documents per month and over 260 authorizations for the request of medical records. The average turnaround for filing and approval to release is 24 hours. All of this is done to ensure HIPAA and patient rights are protected. Records are requested to be sent all over the country and the world; we recently processed a record request to Paris, France!
Although you don’t always see the staff in this department, they are one of the backbones of ensuring quality patient care, a responsibility we take very seriously. Come stop by the department to observe the outstanding work!
Department Spotlight: Dental Lab
Department Spotlight: Dental Lab
As we celebrate our 49th year as a health center, we begin to reflect on how much we have grown since our days in the Great Brook Valley apartments, with our seven founding mothers leading the charge. We grew from our origins of bringing one nurse to the public housing complex to being a robust team of nearly 400, and providing a one-stop-shop for an expanse of patient needs in three different communities across Central and MetroWest Massachusetts. Throughout our history, we have pushed to provide cutting-edge health care services, but doing so in a way that advances health equity and increases access to high-quality care for all in our community.
Meet The Team!
Among the many ways we have sought to do this over the years, one such milestone the Health Center achieved was being the first community health center with an on-site dental lab. This year, we are celebrating 20 years of operating our dental lab. Our incredible teams in both Framingham and Worcester, Ha Phan, Dental Lab Supervisor, Beth Febles, Dental Lab Coordinator, Teuta Gjino, Dental Lab Technician, Lead Tanteh, Lab Technician, bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the department. Ha Phan has been part of the Kennedy Community Health family for the past 21 years. She received her dentist training in her home country of Vietnam. This allowed her to bring important experience and best practices, opening the dental lab team to new techniques and ways to approach delivery, enhancing the practice and our patients’ experience.
What Does The Dental Lab Do?
The team provides a wide range of services including fabricating complete and/or partial dentures; providing denture repairs, night guards, whitening trays; and coordinating services outside the lab such as crowns and bridges. In addition, in our Worcester office, the lab technicians are often utilized for chairside consultations regarding fit and esthetics, and repairs of dentures.
Quality & Accuracy
The team aims to provide both efficiency and accuracy; the technicians focus on providing a rapid turnaround to get the end product to the patient as soon as possible, but they don’t sacrifice in quality or accuracy. The team focuses on providing a quality product that minimizes post-delivery adjustments, making it an all-around positive experience for our patients. In an average year, this team is responsible for producing 700-750 dentures and other removable devices, and repairing 120-150 dentures.
“Providing replacement teeth helps our patients smile with confidence, speak better, chew their food more efficiently, and boost their self-esteem,” Brian Genna, Vice President of Dental.
Department Spotlight: Behavioral Health - Tatiana Martins
Department Spotlight: Behavioral Health- Tatiana Martins
The pandemic brought unprecedented difficulties, including loss, isolation, and stress, all of which brought behavioral health and wellness to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Kennedy Community Health’s Behavioral Health team recognized the gravity of the situation early on and worked to quickly adapt to the evolving situation to ensure continuity of care. Almost overnight, the team moved to an entirely remote service delivery, with providers taking calls and zooms from their living rooms instead of from their offices. And while this took the work and dedication of the whole team, when asked to do this department spotlight, the team really wanted to shine a light on one individual from their team that really went above and beyond: Tatiana Martens, Psychotherapist.
Who is Tatiana Martins?
Tatiana is a cornerstone of the BH team and can always be found helping anyone (or everyone!) around her. Jeffrey Madonna, Vice President of Behavioral Health, said, “Tatiana is the epitome of a team player and is always willing to jump in to help out and problem-solve to the betterment of the department, the BH team, and the patients we serve.”
What Major Projects Has She Worked on?
This team-oriented focus was especially apparent during this past year; Tatiana recently completed a major push to upgrade the Behavioral Health EMR system templates and user functions. This project aimed to improve and streamline BH workflows, efficiencies, and find better ways to complete tasks. Tatiana was well-suited to tackle this global project as she provides a full range of services and supports for the BH department, including outpatient therapy, BHI at both Tacoma and Milford, MAT, and IT support for the whole department!
While her colleagues and friends know that Tatiana doesn’t like the spotlight, they didn’t want to miss this opportunity to recognize all of her hard work and dedication. She is the epitome of a team player and is always jumping in to help out and problem solve for the betterment of the department, the BH team, and the patients we serve Thank you, Tatiana, for your tireless commitment to our mission “to help people live healthier lives.”
Department Spotlight: Milford Site
Department Spotlight: Milford Site
The Kennedy Community Health team is united across all of our sites in our mission to “help people live healthier lives.” This past year has challenged us to re-think the way we all approach accomplishing this goal: implementing new safety protocols, shifting to telehealth and remote work, keeping ourselves and our communities up-to-date on vaccine availability, and more. The Milford team has taken on these challenges head-on and worked to quickly adapt the site to accommodate these changes and get creative with their space to expand access to new services.
Switching Gears for COVID-19
Specifically, the Milford team worked to early on in the pandemic to provide on-site COVID testing for their community. More recently, this has expanded to include an on-site COVID vaccine clinic and provided much needed COVID vaccine outreach and education to inform patients about the different phases of the rollout and when they might be eligible to receive their vaccine. As of mid-February, the team had vaccinated a total of 250 people (not including their own staff). As we all know, each person vaccinated brings us all closer to herd immunity and a healthier community for all.
How does the team get all of this work done? Well, according to Milford’s Site Manager, Derek Matteson, the team preps for their upcoming week by getting work done on the weekends. This sets the team (and their patients!) up for success! Lately, their projects have been centered around outreach to patients regarding the COVID vaccine, providing information about their eligibility, and scheduling a time for them to come in to receive it. The team has an all-hands-on-deck emergency backup plan for canceling and rescheduling vaccine appointments in order to ensure they’re getting as many vaccines out as possible. Not only does this mean that the vaccines are getting into the arms of patients, but it also ensures that they continue to be eligible to get as many as possible through DPH.
Their hard work and dedication is apparent from anyone who interacts with the team. They frequently receive glowing shout-outs and reviews from patients, other medical sites, and from other team members. Keep up the excellent work and thank you for all that you do, Milford team!
Department Spotlight: Women's Health
Spotlight: Women’s Health Services
Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center was founded by seven women seeking better care for themselves and their children. Now, 48 years later, our Women’s Health Services team continues to work towards that same goal.
Meet the Team
Our core Women’s Health team in Worcester is comprised of eight passionate staff members: Dr. Anna Zheng, Family Medicine OB; Dr. Anita Kostecki, Medical Provider; Clara Pastor, Women’s Health Nurse Manager; Shanoska Vasquez Garcia, Women’s Health Coordinator; Myrnaliz Alvarez, Women’s Health Navigator and Family Planning Counselor; Januka Ghimiray, RN; Ayeisa Tejeda Pena, Medical Assistant; and Yajaira Gonzalez, Women’s Health Medical Assistant. Other providers at the facility also offer services to help support women’s health needs throughout their lifespan.
How Do They Help People Live Healthier Lives?
The guiding principle of the Women’s Health team is to provide better access to care by offering a wide range of services in a culturally and linguistically appropriate setting. These services are also integrated within the full scope of services provided at Kennedy Community Health, supporting a holistic approach to care.
In addition, the Women’s Health team offers much more than routine care and checkups; they also provide family planning and counseling, point of contact ultrasounds, prenatal care, colposcopy services, endometrial biopsies, and more. The staff aims to provide their patients with high-quality, compassionate, and comprehensive care at every visit, while addressing the unique needs of each stage of a woman’s life.
Years of Dedication
The team has extensive experience in women’s health and family medicine. Clara Pastor has been a part of the Kennedy Community Health team for 33 years, and Dr. Anita Kostecki for 24 years! The team as a whole is continuously working to do more to address the needs of their patients and work tirelessly to fulfill our mission to “help people live healthier lives.” We are grateful for their tireless work for our patients!