Community Health of Central WA Announces Senior Care Programs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Community Health of Central WA Announces New Senior Care Programs

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Community Health of Central Washington (CHCW) is announcing two new programs to provide medical and dental care to seniors in residential care facilities. Community Health of Central Washington (CHCW) is announcing two new programs to provide medical and dental care to seniors in residential care facilities.

YAKIMA, WA - Community Health of Central Washington (CHCW) is announcing two new programs to provide medical and dental care to seniors in residential care facilities.

CHCW says the Senior and Residential Care (SRCare) and Senior Smiles programs are designed to meet the primary healthcare needs of people in long-term and skilled nursing facilities throughout Ellensburg and the Yakima Valley, as well as consultative care for short-term or transitional patients. 

The two programs are staffed by physicians, dentists, dental hygienists and other medical staffers. SRCare program aims to provide access to affordable, high quality, and cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and under-served seniors with the eventual goal of expanding services to other seniors who need care in their own homes. 

CHCW says the program doesn't intent to displace any patients from their ongoing source of primary care, only to provide care if it is lacking and assist residential care providers.   

In addition, SRCare works to improve outcomes and patient experience, respond to the service needs of patients, and expand the scope of services provided to seniors and patients with disabilities, and coordinate transitions of care. 

SRCare's original concept and plan was adapted from local physician Dr. Paul Emmans' efforts of providing care to nursing home residents for over a 15 year period in Yakima and Selah.  

Dr. Emmans currently serves as the Clinical Director of SRCare and provides medical director services to designated facilities that are contracted with CHCW for SRCare services. 

"It is a pleasure to combine my past efforts with the comprehensive resources and support of CHCW professional staff and leadership," Dr. Emmans said. "Together we are able to reach additional at-risk patients and provide them with essential medical services to improve their health and quality of life. Additionally, the opportunity to have Central WA Family Medicine Residency participate, as part of their training, in the program has great potential to enhance the care our patients receive."  

Similar to SRCare Program's initiatives, but with a focus on oral health care, Senior Smiles is a comprehensive, high quality preventive and primary dental care program serving senior and residential patients in long-term care facilities regardless of their ability to pay.  Many of their patients do not have easy or convenient access to dental treatments, nor adequate insurance to provide for their dental needs.   

Therefore, Senior Smiles is unique in that it is a mobile unit that literally takes the dental office to the patient, providing essential oral health care to the most vulnerable patients at greatly reduced cost or no cost at all. The Senior Smiles program is currently operating in Ellensburg and Yakima thanks to grant assistance from Washington Dental Service Foundation. 

"The practice of medicine is changing. Primary care doctors don't go to the hospital much anymore, and they mostly don't follow their patients in nursing homes," says Mike Maples, MD, CEO of Community Health of Central Washington. "We have been there, seen the changes, and could see that Dr. Emmans would be overwhelmed.  Identifying and solving this kind of problem has been CHCW's role in our community for more than 20 years. We hope, with these programs, that patients won't have to be sent to a hospital because there is no doctor to visit them in the long term care facility. We hope to never again see a resident suffer malnutrition for lack of oral health care."

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