San José Clinic medical partners a ‘safety net’ for community

November 10, 2015

HOUSTON — At the fifth-annual Fall Speakers Series, presented by CHI St. Luke’s Health, the San José Clinic honored and raised awareness of four of its partnerships that not only support its efforts with funding and volunteers, but also shares its mission of providing quality healthcare and education to those with limited access in an environment which respects the dignity of each person.

San José Clinic is a “beacon of hope” and “a strong voice” for the impoverished in the community, said Father Lawrence Jozwiak, JCL.
The series, titled “The Power of Collaboration: Providing a Safety Net Together,” featured a panel discussion with four Houston healthcare leaders from the medical community, including Dr. Robert Robbins, president and CEO of Texas Medical Center; George Masi, president and CEO of Harris Health System; Dr. James McDeavitt, dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine and chief clinical integration officer of CHI St. Luke’s Health; and Dr. Stephen Moore, chief medical officer of CHI St. Luke’s Health. Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz, also in attendance, shared closing remarks.

The agreement on the basic understanding of the fruit of collaboration was apparent from the start of the discussion. 

McDeavitt said that he felt like he “hit the lottery” in working at the Texas Medical Center. He called the area a “national jewel,” noting San José Clinic’s beautiful space, which operates as a a full-service clinic. “You’ve got great, enthusiastic doctors who know that it’s not about just giving you a pill, but they understand it’s about treating your family and understanding who you are too. To have our students see other physicians give of their time, talent and treasure in this way creates a culture of service.” 

Moore said that this relationship is especially important when talking about the care of heart failure patients. Paule Anne Lewis, president and CEO of San José Clinic, said the Congestive Heart Failure program with CHI St. Luke’s is a great example of how these partnerships work and are financially beneficial to both parties.

“Through the CHI St. Luke’s Health — San José Clinic CHF Collaboration, uninsured patients with congestive heart failure from the CHI St. Luke’s Health transition clinics come to San José Clinic for their primary and pharmacy care,” Lewis said. CHI St. Luke’s Health offers care for uninsured CHF patients at St. José Clinic at much lower cost than usual in the Texas Medical Center, she said. The clinic is also compensated for the visits, increasing the organization’s financial stability. “And, most importantly, it brings affordable access to medical specialties, consistent care and an on-site pharmacy to our patients.”

Like the panel discussed, Lewis said the clinic can provide diverse medical resources: primary care, specialty care, nutrition counseling, prescriptions and dental care, all in one place. This allows uninsured patients to get much-needed one-one-one care while keeping them out of hospital emergency rooms. 

Lewis said that patients are able to experience a unique relationship with their providers at San José Clinic.

“Each provider who comes to the clinic has chosen to serve here and serve this population specifically,” she said. “These are professionals who are driven to service. I believe this unique model contributes to the compassionate care our volunteers provide and the connections they make with our patients. Our patients have more than just general healthcare needs; they also face barriers to living a healthy lifestyle,” called social factors of health, include transportation, food access, affordable housing and langauge barriers.

All of the panelists mentioned how San José Clinic welcomes all patients with generosity and open arms to help them develop a healthy lifestyle amid some of the basic hardships that the poor encounter.

Robbins, who helps lead the Texas Medical Center’s collaboration with San José Clinic, said “what we do and offer for healthcare to those who cannot afford it is amazing,” calling the collaboration with San José Clinic an “intricate network, a labyrinth if you will, that provides a safety net system to our community.”

Masi, president and CEO of Harris Health System, called it a “quilt work of collaboration.” 

“There is still a lot of work yet to be done, but education and understanding are critical,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to have things like this. A healthy community is a vibrant community and the work done by San José Clinic is vitally important to your health too. The work done in primary care in the community is the future of healthcare.” 

Invited guests shared a profound moment when they met 63-year-old Billy Gene Williams, a patient of San José Clinic. He shared how the clinic helped him survive a bad heart valve and how he would not be alive today without the help of the clinic.
“His willingness to allow us to tell his story and share it with the world was a charitable and selfless act,” Lewis said. “We are so proud to be a part of his story and path towards a long, healthier life.” 

Bishop Sheltz, during his closing remarks, reminisced about his experience when he was a boy of his uncle having high regard for the clinic. He imparted how this is an essential ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 

“Our diocese supports a very important charitable entity within our community,” he said. “And that’s something that I hope goes on for more than another 90 years.” 

Lewis thanked all who attended and especially the panel, whose collaboration and financial support give life to the clinic and allows it to preserve the human dignity among those most in need of healthcare in the Houston area. 

“The panel was fantastic and did a truly splendid job of describing San José Clinic and our vital place in the Houston healthcare community,” she said. “We are blessed to have such wonderful collaborators in the Texas Medical Center and the larger community.”

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