Ahead of the Curve on Patient Outreach

Strategic Moves Put Memorial Primary Care in Strong Position for COVID Response

A few years ago, Memorial Primary Care began to change the way it served patients – providing expanded services via telehealth to better serve those in need.

“For example, we knew that due to a lack of access, a large majority of Behavioral Health patients receive their psychotropic medications through their primary care physicians,” said Melida Akiti, Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Community Service. The solution: Instead of patients having to wait for an appointment with a psychiatrist through telehealth, they are connected immediately to a behavioral health team to establish a therapeutic relationship.

“That was our first baby step into telehealth,” Ms. Akiti said.

Memorial then completed an assessment of all the primary care services to determine their telehealth-readiness, which meant continuing to expand the number of providers on the virtual consultation network, and ensuring that everyone had the ability to complete their telehealth consultations through MyChart.

“Everyone needed to be connected – physicians, medical assistants, health coaches, case managers – to support patients and their families,” said Tammy Scott Reese, Director, Care Management and Population Health Management.

Where services needed to be enlarged, Memorial responded, adding pharmacists to the virtual consultation network for visits on medication management, and instructing patients on using their mobile devices to request prescription refills. All this helped ensure that virtual consultations could seamlessly take place when other issues hindered face-to-face doctor-patient visits. By March and April 2020, Memorial Primary Care had conducted 13,000 telehealth encounters.

“We had incorporated telehealth so deeply into our culture that we never stopped providing services when the pandemic began,” Ms. Akiti added.

The expansion into telehealth was not only transformational but anticipated a crucial need.

“Memorial Primary Care’s journey has been ahead of its time. Everything we’ve been working toward came to fruition in the pandemic,” Ms. Akiti said.

DOC Reaches More Patients with Home Visits

The move to telehealth is just one step that Memorial Primary Care has taken to increase its patient outreach. The Diagnostic Outpatient Care, or DOC, program, which sends medical assistants to visit patients in their homes, helps patients who have transportation and other issues that have prevented them from keeping their regular doctor-office appointments.

The DOC teams conduct in-home assessments using equipment that measures conditions and vital signs. This information is uploaded to a provider who completes the visit via telehealth with the patient and the medical assistant. Since the program began in October 2018, DOC team members have made 446 visits to patients’ homes.

“The technology that the DOC teams use is an extension of what telehealth is meant to do, but takes it to the chronic-care level,” Ms. Akiti said. “The provider is able to gather the data and provide clinical assessment of the patient including prescriptions — everything we need to monitor the patient’s health.”

Memorial Primary Care Program Now Provides Legal Aid

A generous grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida established Memorial Primary Care’s new Medical-Legal Aid Partnership in September 2019. The partnership provides direct legal representation for Memorial Primary Care patients who have health-related legal issues – at no cost. Since the partnership’s inception, it has made more than 200 referrals on medical and health-related matters.

“The grant is for three years, but we are looking toward establishing this as a long-term program,” said Melida Akiti, Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Community Service. “It has a demonstrated value in the improvement of population health.”

Providing Value-Based Care to Improve Population Health

Since it began serving patients and families as South Broward Community Health Services in 2012, Memorial Primary Care – Memorial Healthcare System’s healthcare network that helps Broward County residents manage their long-term well-being – has continued to take preventive care to higher levels. With nine health centers, in-home assessments, telehealth services, mobile vans, and more, Memorial Primary Care is providing life-changing medical interventions and services as a community-wide, value-based practice.

“As a public hospital system, Memorial cares for patients regardless of their ability to pay, and we have to intertwine that with value-based care,” said Melida Akiti, Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Community Service. “ We need to provide our patients with preventive care that will help improve their health and keep them out of the hospital.”

Today, Memorial Primary Care:

  • Has 35,000 patients who are nearly 80 percent insured
  • Records visits to the ER below the national standard
  • Manages chronic conditions at the practice level, decreasing ER visits

“Providing value-based care is not a buzzword for us. It’s a way of life – the way we work,” Ms. Akiti said.

“Providing value-based care is not a buzzword for us. It’s a way of life – the way we work.”
Melida Akiti

Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Community Services

Catching Lots of Love, and Sending It Back

Donors from the South Florida community stepped up in 2020 to show exceptional support for Memorial Foundation and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation. As the Catch the Love campaign to raise funds for the upcoming expansion of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital continued at full speed, the teams from both Foundations gathered with friends and supporters throughout the year to celebrate and show appreciation for major gifts and for record-breaking turnout at their banner events.

“We really didn’t miss a beat,” said Kevin Janser, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer. “I expect that 2020 will be our best year ever.”

Special Events Draw Big Crowds, Even Bigger Support

The 8th Annual Jeff Conine Celebrity Poker Classic – held in August for the third consecutive year at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – featured nearly $35,000 in cash and prizes and raised nearly $200,000 for the Conine Clubhouse, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s home away from home for families whose children are patients at the hospital. Since the Clubhouse opened its doors in 1997, 13,000 families have stayed there – every one of them free of charge.

With a sold-out tournament of golfers and the support of title sponsor Custom Rod & Reel, the 26th Annual Conine All-Star Golf Classic raised $262,000 for the Conine Clubhouse in January. “I want to say thank you to Jeff and Cindy Conine,” Mr. Janser said. “They have been committed to this event for 26 years, which is unheard of. Without their help and support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do for the families we serve at the Conine Clubhouse.”

The “Kids Story” theme of the Diamond Angels’ 16th Annual Fairy Tale Ball gave its 800 guests a Play Date with Destiny. Held in November at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, the event raised more than $650,000 for programs, services and facilities at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital – beating last year’s record by more than $100,000.

Nearly 600 attendees celebrated sportscaster Bob Costas as the recipient of the 7th Annual Joe DiMaggio American Icon Award at a February event that raised close to $600,000. The Icon award is given to individuals who exemplify the values that guided Joe DiMaggio during his lifetime. “As long as baseball is played, parents and grandparents will be telling their kids about Joe DiMaggio,” Mr. Costas said in his remarks. “To receive an honor that bears his name is humbling, and I thank you very much.”

The 11th Annual ANF Group Tour de Broward on February 23 brought together 7,000 cyclists, runners, walkers and volunteers on a gorgeous South Florida Sunday. Raising more than $700,000, the popular annual event helps support programs and facilities that benefit children and families from the South Florida community and beyond.

“All of us at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation and Memorial Foundation are so grateful for the continued friendship and support of our donors. We are honored to feel their love every day, and equally honored to have the privilege of returning it.”
Kevin Janser

Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer

Introducing the Frank DiMino Campus!

Thanks to a major gift in January from the DiMino Family Foundation – one of the largest gifts ever received by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation – Memorial gathered in June to celebrate the unveiling of the Frank DiMino Campus of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Specialty Center in Wellington.

Memorial President and CEO Aurelio Fernandez III, FACHE, East Operations Executive Vice President Nina Beauchesne, FACHE, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital CEO Caitlin Stella, MPH, and Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer Kevin Janser led staff members in greeting Mr. DiMino, 93, with signs of thanks and appreciation for his extraordinary generosity.

The DiMino Foundation’s gift was made to the Catch the Love campaign, which will help fund the expansion of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. It’s Mr. DiMino’s second significant contribution in as many years – the first being a 2018 gift that named the Frank DiMino Emergency Department at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

“I’m honored to support such an outstanding organization that does so much for the health and well-being of children and families in South Florida,” Mr. DiMino said.

Life Coach Helps Welcome a New Life

Life Coach Kiensha Sands

How to shop for groceries, balance a checkbook, do laundry, apply for a job – these are just some of the life skills that Memorial’s Healthy Youth Transitions (HYT) program teaches approximately 175 young people who are aging out of foster care every year. HYT helps them transition to adulthood by teaching them how to live independently and productively.

And in Life Coach Kiensha Sands’s case, it even involved welcoming a new baby into the world.

At around 10 one night, she received a frantic call from her 19-year-old HYT participant. The pregnant teen’s water had broken – what should she do? Instructing the new-mom-to-be to have 911 take her to Memorial Regional Hospital, Kiensha raced there and stayed at the teen’s side until her healthy baby boy was born.

“Personal birthing and labor coach isn’t on the list of what HYT life coaches usually do, but Kiensha was the only responsible adult and positive role model in this young woman’s life,” said Tim Curtin, Executive Director, Community and Youth Services. “Kiensha went more than the extra mile in this case – she went the extra 10 miles.”

Good Parenting Strengthens Family TIES

When at-risk Broward families needing counseling and parenting support don’t know where to turn, Memorial’s Family TIES (Therapeutic Intervention to Empower and Strengthen) program can help.

For 10 years, Family TIES has provided in-home prevention and intervention services to help adults and caregivers develop effective parenting skills.

“Family TIES helps families change negative interactions at home and improve their family management practices,” said Tim Curtin, Executive Director, Community and Youth Services.

Family TIES uses four evidence-based programs:

  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), for intensive family therapy
  • Strengthening Multiethnic Families and Communities (SMEFC), for family skills training
  • LifeSkills Training (LST), for child and adolescent development, and
  • Nurturing Fathers (NF), to teach parenting and nurturing skills to men

Since the program began, the services provided by Family TIES have resulted in:

Memorial Hospital Pembroke Celebrates 25 Years

Memorial Hospital Pembroke celebrated 25 years as part of Memorial Healthcare System and welcomed a new CEO who will lead the hospital into its next decade.

During the anniversary celebration, hospital leaders unveiled the new Resiliency Garden, an idea that came from employees who said they could use a place to rest and relax during their breaks. The garden features a swing set, picnic tables and benches and corn hole games.

Human Resources and Central Supply also decorated hospital hallways with posters of events, menus and popular movies from 1995, when Memorial took over the hospital from HCA Healthcare.

“A lot has changed in 25 years,” said Joe Stuczynski, Memorial Hospital Pembroke’s Chief Executive Officer. “It was a beautiful way to celebrate the commitment and passion of our staff, and take a trip down memory lane.”

This year, the staff also welcomed back Mr. Stuczynski, who took the helm of the hospital in June 2020 after more than 15 years with Memorial. He spent 10 of those years as Chief Financial Officer for Memorial Hospital Pembroke, and most recently served as Chief Financial Officer for Memorial Regional Hospital South.

Mr. Stuczynski came back to Memorial Hospital Pembroke during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to testing and caring for patients in the immediate community, the hospital welcomed patients from other Memorial facilities that were at capacity.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the staff for what they have done during the past few months,” Mr. Stuczynski said. “We served as a beacon of hope and safety for the community, offering testing and care during these challenging times.”

In addition to celebrating its past, the staff is looking toward the future. They are enhancing and expanding services, including the Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care and the Weight-Loss Surgery Program. They also continue to promote the comfortable and convenient surgical suites and services, which tout impressive turnaround times that benefit both patients and physicians.