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Doc of the Year: Award Comes with Responsibility

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 14, 2013

Albani says he feels "extremely happy" to have the opportunity to help people whose health concerns might otherwise not be addressed. "Most of these people are working jobs like McDonalds—low income jobs. They didn't make enough to pay for health insurance and they made too much money to qualify for public assistance. They continue to work because they feel they should. That is the mindset of a large number of folks here," he says.

A community effort

Albani and other providers work arm-in-arm with volunteers from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Youngstown, which provides the space for the clinic and provides other support. "The church does the nuts and bolts of trying to raise money in the community to take care of patients and I took care of the medical side of it, which was organizing the layout of the church and where we see people and organize the patient flow and what kind of stations we needed."

"Somebody doing triage, somebody doing vitals, somebody doing check in and check out. That was my contribution," Albani says. "By no means am I the big chief in there. It is very much a community effort and a large number of people are there every time to help when we do the clinic."

"We have several thousand patients we see now tied into the program. On any given night we see between 40-50 people," he says. "The first six months it was just me, because I wanted to get the nuts and bolts worked out. Now we have expanded and typically there are five providers there each night, usually physicians I have recruited, but there are two nurse practitioners who help us as well. And we have medical residents who serve as part of their education."

Albani also sits on the board at Access Health Mahoning Valley, which he helped found in 2008, and which provides primary care to residents of Mahoning and Trumbull counties, aged 19 to 64, who are uninsured and ineligible for public assistance.

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