Taking Primary Care Out into the Community…

Community intervention is part of the obligation of being a physician . I learned from my father and my mother that you had to be kind of an educator. Healthcare, more than ever, is a consumer-driven industry. It’s not a convenience… We as physicians and clinicians need to go out into the community where people are and not just wait for people to come to what is essentially a customer service industry.  — Dr. Alexander Salerno, Chief of Staff at Salerno Medical Associates (SMA)


Behavioral health is essentially preventive medicine in that you are responsible for various aspects of your personal health such as:

√ what and how much you eat or drink

√ whether you smoke or use other tobacco products or

√ are entrapped in a self-imposed sedentary lifestyle that contributes to obesity, diabetes and other health transgressions.


CHOP’S Role in Community Intervention…

Everything we do in CHOP (Community Healthcare Outreach Program) is identical to what you would get in a private primary care office setting. It is basically a full-service primary care practice that is imbedded for one day, a week or a month, whatever the schedule calls for, in the behavioral health center itself. It creates a fully integrated delivery system with primary care delivered to you.

CHOP can provide fully integrated primary care for your behavioral health facility. Its foundation was laid with SHOP (Senior Healthcare Outreach Program). You might say we are coming to you instead of you coming to us by sending a team of expert healthcare providers to visit your facility or home on a scheduled basis, CHOP can provide early on-site treatment intervention of controllable and curable diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer screenings. This can save patients from unnecessary disease and illness, and save the system unnecessary and costly hospital visits.

Historically, the behavioral health center, whether private or government-owned, has to expend an employee, say a social worker, to accompany the behavioral health patients to the primary care clinic or the primary care office. The center may be designating time and staff, and many are short-staffed to begin with, accompanying patients to external primary care providers where they are shuffled in and out and made to feel even more insignificant. These external sites naturally want to limit exposure to other clients. All of this results in a discriminatory delivery of health services despite best intentions toward patient health and safety.


—“The centers love us coming to them because they are not tying up staff and they are not having to spend money on transportation, and they are not having to lose as much as two or three hours of favorable staff time.”— Dr. Alexander Salerno—


Then there are referrals and prescriptions that nobody can follow up on because the patient doesn’t understand or can’t communicate to a medical provider. Little gets accomplished and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Salerno Medical Associates is actually making all the appointments, coordinating all the care, taking care of not just the patient but, often more importantly, the paperwork.

Everyone in health care knows that there is more paperwork than patient work, and this is a population to which you can’t rely on giving or processing paperwork.


— Call 973-676-0955 to learn more about CHOP and our community health intervention programs—