At the School of Medicine, improving patient care within our local community has always been a priority. I'm happy to announce our newest partnership with Access Health Louisiana. It's an almost a unique arrangement between an academic medical center and a system of eight federally qualified health centers. This new consortium will be available to improve the quality of care for our community, be a platform for educating the next generation of physicians and offer the opportunity of exploring better ways to innovate in terms of care.
The operations at the Ruth U. Fertel/Tulane Community Health Center are being integrated into this network which will ensure its sustainability to continue severing the needs of patients. "This agreement ensures a sustainable future for the center. Access Health Louisiana is committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective communitybased care to the underinsured and uninsured patients in the area of New Orleans currently served. The cross-over has been a seamless one," stated Tulane alumni, Mark Keiser, Access Health Louisiana's executive director and chief executive officer.
Dr. Eboni Price-Haywood, the director for the Ruth U. Fertel clinic, also sees this collaboration as a positive change for the Center. "We have great confidence in the leadership at Access Health, which has more than a decade of success running Federally Qualified Health Centers," she says. "They will handle the day-to-day administration of the clinic and will lease the facility from Tulane; allowing the name of our Center and its staff to remain the unchanged."
From a primary care standpoint, Access will benefit from our partnership by increasing the number of physicians within their network. Dr. Happy Ménard, the Director of Primary Care stated, "With the Affordable Care Act, there will be increased demand for primary care access, yet an anticipated shortage of providers. Developing partnerships with community organizations, such as Access Health, to care for the whole population of patients and planning for education and development of our future primary care workforce are essential in the current healthcare environment."
Our medical students will also benefit from this unique partnership. As Dr. Marc Kahn describes, "The contract between Access Health and Tulane will provide our students access to a well-integrated primary care base. It will allow our students to see medicine practiced in the community and to participate in the continuity of patient care. Perhaps one reason that more students do not chose careers in primary care is because of poor role modeling in most medical schools. Engaging students in a continuity experience with patients in the community is a solution to this problem and will hopefully help more students understand the job satisfaction derived from being a primary care provider."
Being able to adapt to the changing health care regulations as well as expanding our outreach to the local community, continues to be a priority within the School of Medicine. By partnering with Access Health, we are able to expand our reach within Louisiana and further our mission of education, research and patient care. This will undoubtedly create additional opportunities for Tulane that otherwise may not have been possible.