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Cleveland Clinic's New Health Center Will Feature 'Patient Navigators' to Coordinate Care

By John Commins  
   June 03, 2010

Cleveland Clinic today broke ground on a $25 million community health center in East Cleveland that the health system says will link healthcare with social and financial services.

The three-story, 50,000-square-foot Huron Community Health Center will be located on the campus of Huron Hospital and will open in late 2011, Cleveland Clinic said.

"In this new center, we are creating something bigger than a doctor's office; we are building a medical home," said David Bronson, MD, president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospital. "It will help patients learn how to both prevent and manage their diseases, access the latest in medical technology and stay connected to their physicians so they can take better control of their health."

The center will generate more than 30 new jobs and Cleveland Clinic said it hopes to hire 20% of the workforce from East Cleveland and Cleveland. The center's outpatient services will include primary and specialty care, specialized care for women and children, mental health services, and prevention, wellness, and health education programs. The center will emphasize chronic disease management, especially for diabetes, hypertension, and kidney failure.

The center will feature "patient navigators" who help patients assess, engage, and coordinate their medical, social service and financial needs, and link them to the appropriate resources. Patient navigators will coordinate healthcare services, ensure timely treatment and follow-ups, arrange for transportation to and from the center, help with complex financial and eligibility forms, and provide information about treatment options and preventive behaviors.

The Center will also include an "Iron Chef" teaching kitchen to teach patients to cook healthy, inexpensive meals, meeting rooms for community programming, a full-service pharmacy, and a 21-bed dialysis unit.

"We're strengthening collaborations with local social service agencies to build on what we've already developed and enhance the care delivered to patients with chronic diseases," said A. Gus Kious, MD, president of Huron Hospital. "Services at the Huron Community Health Center will target health needs, like diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure that are prevalent in the East Cleveland and the surrounding area. Our goal is to help every person succeed in managing their illnesses so we can keep people out of the hospital."

Collaborators in the project include: Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, a network of six community health centers that provide primary care and ancillary services; East Cleveland Neighborhood Center; and East Cleveland Public Library, which houses the Huron Hospital Minority Health Resource Center.

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

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