Successful Model for Rural and Underserved Communities
North Metro Pediatrics
Geographic Area: Anoka Couny*
North Metro Pediatrics is a nurse practitioner-run, pediatric primary care clinic that focuses on teaching preventative care.
Even before becoming certified as a health care home, North Metro providers involved the family by giving them choices, explaining their options and asking for their feedback. Families appreciate the time we take to follow through with their care. Teaching a teenager with asthma how to use his inhaler and how to recognize when he needs to talk to his mom or the school nurse involves the patient in his own care. Patient involvement leads to increased confidence and reduced anxiety. Patients and their families feel more in control and that feeling of ownership yields better outcomes.
If patients have insurance they qualify for the health care home. If they do not have insurance, they may not qualify. However, North Metro coordinates care for all patients—with or without insurance—because it benefits families.
We have collaborative relationships with community public health and human resources, schools, daycare providers and other health care providers to help families access services, which is especially important for children with complex and unique health care needs. As a certified health care home, North Metro is able to get reimbursed for some of our work coordinating and collaborating with families and outside resources.
Plans for the Future
We experienced a 30 percent increase in patients visits from FY 2008 to FY 2009 and another 30 percent increase in FY2009 to FY 2010. Projections are for continued growth in new patients for the next three years. To ensure that we remain accessible, we are planning to increase staff and clinic hours.
We spend a significant amount of time, especially with new patients, assessing areas of need beyond health care such as food and shelter. We plan to increase our efforts by hiring a social worker who will help eligible families through the process of signing up for Medical Assistance.
North Metro Pediatrics is a nonprofit clinic established to provide health services to populations with low incomes. It was established in July 2005 to meet a critical need for access in the north metro area of the Twin Cities, especially Anoka County. Patients also come from Chisago, Hennepin, Ramsey, Sherburne and Washington counties.*
In addition to sick visits, North Metro offers well-child and teen checkups, immunizations, physicals, lactation support, developmental assessments and education on prevention and managing chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes. We also provide basic preventative oral health services, including fluoride varnish applications.
For patients who present with a dental health concern, we refer to Children’s Dental Services, which has a sliding fee scale. We also host the Ronald McDonald House Dental Van each month and the Give Kids a Smile dental van each year.
We train approximately 30 health care professionals annually, providing opportunities for students to gain experience and for the clinic to keep costs low.
We have a history of collaboration with other community clinics and health care providers and community-based organizations. We are frequently a referral source for school nurses, Head Start, public health nurses, WIC, Lutheran Social Services and county human service departments. The clinic is also represented on the Anoka County Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program advisory committee and is on the Head Start Health Policy Council. We collaborate with the Fridley school district to provide low-cost sports physicals on site for children without insurance.
Contact: Connie Blackwell, C.N.P. 763-783-3722
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