A network of family medicine clinics serve Toronto’s inner-city community

Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of St. Michael’s Hospital Department of Family and Community Medicine, says the hospital provides a sense of connection, particularly for people feeling socially isolated or facing challenges. “We take an equity lens to everything we do, so that each person gets the care they need.”

Thomas Bollmann

What started in the basement of St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto nearly 50 years ago has evolved into a network of family medicine clinics. Today, six clinics, located in diverse neighbourhoods in downtown east Toronto, serve the needs of more than 50,000 patients, of whom 30 per cent are living with low income.

Dr. Karen Weyman is Chief of St. Michael’s Hospital Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM), which operates the clinics. She says that each location provides comprehensive care, along with various specialties like addiction medicine, HIV and LGBTQ2S+ health – but all have a guiding principle in common.

“We focus on looking after all our patients, with compassion and respect,” she says. “We take an equity lens to everything we do, so that each person gets the care they need.”

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The clinics’ staff of 250, including 80 family physicians and seven nurse practitioners, do that by taking social determinants, like housing, race and income, into account.

For instance, those who can’t afford it have access to physiotherapy, chiropractic, counselling, dental care and legal services. And for those who are having trouble making ends meet, there are staff, known as income support health promoters, who help them negotiate the system.

The department’s work has been so innovative that it was recognized by the World Health Organization for improving primary-care delivery in Toronto’s inner-city community.

For the last eight months, COVID-19 has had a big impact on how care has been provided, according to Dr. Weyman.

“While COVID has affected everyone, it has had a disproportionate impact on people experiencing disadvantage, not only income-wise, but also those living with mental-health conditions, substance-use disorders and HIV,” she notes. “Patients living on lower incomes must go to work and travel to work, putting them at higher risk. And for families living in small spaces, being able to isolate if they need to is difficult.”

COVID-19 has magnified pre-existing challenges of caring for people living in poverty, those experiencing homelesssness or those who face racism, says Dr. Weyman.

“As a society, we can’t ignore social and structural issues that impact people’s health,” she notes. “For instance, patients who don’t have a phone or internet are having more trouble accessing health care.”

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To bridge the gap, within two weeks of the pandemic being declared, St. Michael’s DFCM created a COVID-19 Social Determinants of Health working group. A number of initiatives were launched, including proactive wellness checks for more than 2,000 patients who were especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, providing food cards, referrals to other forms of support and even buying tablets and phones for patients for telemedicine appointments.

“Our health-care team

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Klick Health Rolls Out Mobile Flu Shot Clinics to Employees’ Homes

Company takes its annual flu shot program on the road to help keep its people healthy and happy during pandemic

For the first time ever, Klick Health has taken its in-office flu shot clinic on the road in keeping with its people-first culture and commitment to help keep its team members and their families healthy and happy.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201029006114/en/

A registered nurse gives copywriter Ammie Matte the flu shot in Klick Health’s Mobile Flu Shot Clinic outside her Toronto home on October 28, 2020. Matte is one of hundreds of Klick employees who signed up for the unique program as the company continues to adapt its people-first programs during the pandemic. (Photo: Business Wire)

Klick’s Mobile Flu Shot Clinics are pulling up and parking outside the homes of hundreds of its Toronto-based team members, who signed up for the unique pilot program, over the next two weeks. The company transformed two Sprinter Cargo Vans into flu shot clinics, complete with Registered Nurses, and is working in partnership with leading local medical clinics to administer the flu shots.

“The safety and wellbeing of our team is paramount,” said Chief People Officer Glenn Zujew. “That’s why we’re taking our normal in-office flu shot clinic on the road and are literally rolling it out to hundreds of Klicksters’ homes. It’s another example of our people-first culture and how we’ve been adapting our internal programs with different, out-of-the-box thinking to keep our Klicksters as happy, healthy, and engaged as ever.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Klick has hosted in-office flu shot clinics for several years but decided to adapt the program during COVID-19 for its growing team. Klick has also responded to the pandemic by moving to virtual operations ahead of the curve and adapting all of its communications, training, onboarding, fitness, and other internal programs. In the spring, it launched the Klick Shop, giving every Klickster $500 to spend on desks, ergonomic chairs, monitors, headsets, and other items to help make their work-from-home experience more comfortable.

About Klick Health
Klick Health is the world’s largest independent commercialization partner for life sciences. For over two decades, Klick has been laser focused on developing, launching, and supporting life sciences brands to maximize their full market potential. Follow Klick Health on Twitter at @KlickHealth. For more information on joining Klick, go to klick.com.

About Klick Group
The Klick Group of companies—Klick Health (including Klick Katalyst), Klick Media Group, Klick Applied Sciences (including Klick Labs), Klick Consulting, Klick Ventures, and Sensei Labs—is an ecosystem of brilliant talent collectively working to maximize their people and clients’ full potential. Established in 1997, Klick has teams in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, and across North America. Klick has consistently been

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Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding and 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic

Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding and 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic

PR Newswire

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Sentry Data Systems, Inc., the nation’s leader in pharmacy procurement, compliance and utilization management, announced today a new analysis from Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access, a nonprofit organization of HIV/AIDS medical providers of which Sentry is a benefactor. The study highlights the importance of Ryan White Clinics in effectively treating the conditions, and it suggests that any reductions in federal funding or to the 340B drug benefits the clinics depend on would have a devastating effect on efforts to manage the public health crisis.

Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding, 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic
Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding, 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic

“Ryan White Clinics are an indispensable part of our nation’s healthcare safety net and play an effective role in treating an especially vulnerable group of Americans,” said Travis Leonardi, founder and CEO of Sentry Data Systems. “Sentry is proud to support Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access and its members through advocacy, technology and the expertise they need to maximize their 340B benefits and continue providing high-quality care to their patients.”

Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access (RWC-340B) is a national organization of health care clinics and service providers that receive support under the federal Ryan White CARE Act, which provides funds for services used primarily by indigent and uninsured people with HIV/AIDS. Ryan White providers are also eligible for the federal 340B Drug Discount Program and use it to expand affordable access to expensive and life-saving HIV/AIDS medications. Sentry is a Platinum Level Benefactor of RWC-340B and has made a significant donation to the nonprofit in 2020 to help share important 340B-related information with its members.

The new data-driven white paper comes as the 340B program is under assault from drug manufacturers and as the federal government is pushing Medicare Part B rate cuts for 340B drugs. It states that any reduction in resources, including 340B Drug Pricing Program savings, could have long-term consequences for patients served through Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program-funded clinics, including disruptions in care and treatment, adverse health outcomes, or increased healthcare expenses.

On Oct. 9, RWC-340B filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Health Resources and Services Administration. It seeks action against four drug manufacturers that have refused to sell 340B-discounted drugs to covered entities when ordered through a contract pharmacy.

“Given the sustained and serious threats to the 340B program, this white paper and analysis reveals important facts about the critical role Ryan White clinics play in the safety net,” said Mark Malahosky, RPh BPharm, Vice President, Pharmacy Services, Trillium Health and Treasurer of Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access. “This report proves what we’ve known all along: harm to the 340B program means dangerous consequences for public health and

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Appeals court upholds Kentucky abortion law requiring clinics to have transfer agreements with hospitals

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a Kentucky law that requires abortion clinics to have written agreements with a hospital and ambulance service in case of medical emergencies.

The 2-1 ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a 2018 district court ruling that found the law, first passed in 1998, violated constitutionally protected due process rights.

EMW Women’s Surgical Center first challenged the law in 2017 after a licensing fight with then-Gov. Matt Bevin (R). EMW was the only clinic that provided abortions at the time, and Bevin claimed that it lacked proper transfer agreements and took steps to shut it down.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky joined the suit later on, claiming that Bevin had used these transfer agreements to block its request for a license to provide abortions. After Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear took office in 2019, the two clinics were allowed to provide abortions.

The court wrote that the “district court erred in concluding that Kentucky would be left without an abortion facility,” according to The Associated Press, and dismissed the clinics’ argument that they were at risk of closing. It further said that the law allows clinics to apply for a 90-day waiver if they are denied a licensing agreement, which they could theoretically reapply for and continue to operate.

“(We) must presume that the Inspector General will consider waiver applications in good faith and will not act ‘simply to make it more difficult for (women) to obtain an abortion,’” the ruling read.

In his dissenting opinion, Judge Eric Clay wrote that it “condones the evisceration of the constitutional right to abortion access in Kentucky.”

“At the end of the day, no matter what standard this Court is bound to apply, the majority’s decision today is terribly and tragically wrong,” he wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which represented the clinics, said in a statement that Kentucky’s law means abortion providers have to navigate “needless red tape every 90 days” and warned that the state could be the first without any abortion providers if the governor refuses to grant the waiver.

“This is what it looks like when politicians chip away at protections under Roe — pushing medically unnecessary laws that jeopardize abortion access without ever overturning Roe,” Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement.

“It must be stated that we are in a dangerous moment for abortion rights and what this moment calls for is leadership to put all people before politics and do what’s necessary to ensure every person has access to the care they need and deserve,” Charbonneau added.

Abortion rights have become a hot-button issue this election, as Democrats worry that the impending Senate confirmation of Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettRepublicans increasingly seek distance from Trump Overnight Health Care: Pfizer could apply for vaccine authorization by late November | State health officials say they need .4B for vaccination effort | CDC: Blacks, Hispanics dying of COVID-19

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Allina to pull medical residents out of United Family Medicine clinics on St. Paul’s West Seventh



(Thinkstock)


© Provided by Twin Cities Pioneer Press
(Thinkstock)

For 50 years, the United Family Medicine clinic on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street has catered to the working poor and underinsured patients, including today many East African immigrants and residents.

And the nonprofit health center has done so hand-in-hand with Allina Health, a 12-hospital, 90-clinic health network that has provided the majority of the clinic’s physicians, 21 medical residents, electronic records, lab services and even their phone line.

Now, Allina is in the process of pulling out all 21 medical residents and finding another location near United Hospital where the students can complete their three-year rotations in family medicine.

By the end of the year, the faculty physicians are expected to follow them, leaving the clinic nearly devoid of primary care doctors. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are expected to pick up the slack in the clinic’s new team-based care model.

“The pandemic certainly has accelerated changes in the healthcare system,” said Sara Criger, president of United Hospital, who said medical residents and faculty had complained of patient scheduling and other issues at the clinic, hurting the reputation of Allina’s residency program.

Criger added: “There were problems that United Family Medicine needed to address. As the clinic made changes, we had to determine if they meet our requirements or not, and it became apparent that they did not.”

The deteriorating relationship between the community health clinic and Allina has led to finger-pointing on at least three sides.

CALLS FOR CEO TO RESIGN

Alarmed by a lengthy period of employee furloughs and other emergency management steps, a group of former United Family Medicine board members and West Seventh Street advocates have laid blame on the health clinic’s leadership and called for them to step down.

Those advocates include former United Family Medicine board chair Andrea Marboe, longtime West Seventh Street activist Marit Brock, former St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune and St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw, who was recently a nonprofit leader.

“We’ve totally lost confidence in the program and they should stop funding them,” said Thune, who is circulating a petition calling for major funders to sever ties and for United Family Medicine Chief Executive Officer Ann Nyakundi to resign.

“We want a neighborhood clinic with doctor-patient relationships, real family physicians that follow you to the hospital,” Thune said. “She walked in and six months later turned the clinic upside down. We just prefer she leave now.”

Nyakundi and Jonathan Watson, CEO of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers, said operations at the clinic have stabilized since the start of the pandemic.

“When I inherited the clinic, our 2020 budget at the start of the year was actually worse than it is now,” said Nayakundi, who stepped in as CEO last October after the previous CEO resigned. “We’ve done a really good job efficiently navigating the pandemic and staffing to demand. We temporarily had furloughs, but we’ve brought all of the staff back, and we’re actually

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