SIU Center for Family Medicine-Decatur Earns Federal Recognition
Decatur-area patients will have access to more health care services, thanks to a federal grant that allows the Southern Illinois University Center for Family Medicine-Decatur to become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) under the scope of service of the Center for Family Medicine in Springfield. The US Department of Health and Human Services grant was effective July 1, 2017.
Patients will have access to a spectrum of services, including prenatal care and deliveries, well child care and immunizations, chronic illness management, preventive and geriatric care. The practice, located at 102 W. Kenwood Ave., and previously operating as SIU Family Physicians, had more than 17,000 patient visits last year and plans to expand access to care and patient services. Beginning in September, the center will stay open until 6 p.m. on Wednesday evenings to accommodate more patients.
The center is also the site and base for the SIU Decatur Family Medicine Residency Program, which includes 15 residents training to become board-certified family physicians. Jessie Junker, MD, is director of the residency program and Mark Scott, MD, is medical director. “We are here to serve the people of Decatur. If patients don’t get regular and consistent care, it increases the patients’ suffering and strains the patient care system overall. We are responsible for a healthy community,”said Janet Albers, MD, chairwoman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, SIU School of Medicine Springfield.
The center’s providers care for their patients when hospitalized or in nursing homes and also visit patients in their homes when needed. Future plans for the center include integrating behavioral health into the site.
The FQHC designation allows for improved reimbursement for Medicaid and Medicare patients, the addition of services and enlists quality measures. The center will see patients regardless of their insurance and for those without insurance will provide a sliding scale up to 100 percent of the costs. “We hope people will refer people they know who don’t have health insurance, but we also want people with insurance to know that they can come here for their health care needs,” said Executive Director Iris Wesley. In 2016, approximately 10 percent of Macon County residents were uninsured. Becoming an
FQHC will allow the practice to potentially apply for grant funding to further expand and support patient care and services.
The center will hire additional staff to expand services, including new physician providers to meet the expected increase in patients. Other new staff will include a care coordinator, a financial counselor, an outreach coordinator and a director of quality. Additionally, the center will partner with community resources, such as the Macon County Health Department and will continue to partner with SIU School of Medicine for practice and educational initiatives.
To make an appointment at the Decatur center, call 217-872-3800.
SIU School of Medicine is a public medical school established in 1970 and focused on the health care needs of downstate Illinois. An international leader in medical education, the school is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since opening, more than 2,800 physicians have graduated from its programs.
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