Quality healthcare begins with accessibility — seven providers offer a host of services that extend beyond primary care
By Matt Chandler
Accessibility. It’s a buzz word tossed around the medical community a lot these days. Improving accessibility is seen as a crucial step toward improving the overall health of our community. Accessibility to quality healthcare can mean vastly different things for different people. In a broad sense, accessibility can include:
• Offering flexible scheduling to accommodate patients outside of the traditional 9 to 5 office hours;
• Providing multiple services under one roof to cut down on patient appointments;
• Locating offices in highly populated areas for patient populations where mobility is an issue;
• Locating urban offices in proximity to public transit routes; and
• Accommodating the needs of non-English speaking patients
Accessibility to quality healthcare is a serious challenge in many urban communities. The best doctors in the world can’t help a patient who is unable to secure an appointment or get to the office to keep that appointment.
Buffalo-based General Physician, PC has addressed the need for greater accessibility to healthcare in the city with its newest primary care center.
General Physician PC, Primary Care —Buffalo opened Aug. 5. The 17,000-sq.-ft. primary care center houses seven providers and a host of services that extend beyond primary care.
“We offer on-site clinical pharmacy services, behavioral health, nutritional counseling, and lab work,” said physician Richard Charles, chief medical officer at General Physician, PC
Charles said seeing a decrease in chronic diseases such as diabetes begins with looking at healthcare on a more global scale than ever before.
“The vision for this center was born out of the understanding that the very nature of healthcare delivery must change if we are going to have a heathier patient population,” he said. “Making healthcare more accessible and convenient increases patient participation, and that leads to a healthier community.”
The new office is designed to cut down on wait times when a person calls to make an appointment. One way that is addressed is with early morning appointments (Charles regularly sees patients at 6 a.m.).
The center also serves the growing Spanish-speaking population of Buffalo. Physician Maritza Baez says roughly 25%of her patients are Spanish-speaking, a number she expects to rise in the new location.
“They want to feel comfortable speaking in their native language so they can express themselves and can understand their own healthcare,” Baez says.
Far too many people avoid the doctor’s office until they are extremely sick. The doctors at General Physician’s new center hope to change that trend.
“With the building being right on Main Street, that will attract attention and draw in people who may never have heard of us,” Baez says. “We hope it will encourage those patients to come in and establish a relationship with their primary doctor, before they become sick.”
All across Western New York, health care providers are rethinking the way patient care is delivered with a focus on patient accessibility. Charles says it is a model that is paramount to the larger goal of developing a healthier patient population across the region.
“For our healthcare system to reach its full potential and deliver the best in care to our citizens,” he says, “it must be fully and unconditionally accessible to all.”
To learn more visit: www.gppconline.com
Matt Chandler is a public relations specialist at General Physician, PC