“We Do Everything from the Neck Down”
Under CHOP (Community Healthcare Outreach Program) we strive with great success to provide fully integrated health care by bringing a team to an outpatient behavioral health center in the community. We work side by side with social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists. They do the mental health, socialization and getting people back into the community while we create and provide healthcare report cards to keep patients up to date. We do everything from the neck down while they deal with the neck up.
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)
What are CHOP’s contributions to the process?
We provide, among other things, laboratory medicine, medical exams, vaccinations, screening for cancer and heart disease, smoking cessation, nutrition, screening counseling and treatment. We partner up and interact with healthcare systems to complete the triangle of CHOP, the behavioral health center and any testing or treatment that may be required offsite that we can’t bring directly to affected patients.
“One of the hardest and most challenging things is getting a site patient to the hospital for a mammogram, bone density, colonoscopy or stress tests, for example,” reports Dr. Alexander Salerno, who has carried on and expanded community health intervention originated by his late father, Dr. Alfonse Salerno.
Some of these hospitals and medical facilities may be intimidating, even frightening, to those with behavioral health issues and occasionally trigger an event. We bring the patient coordinator at the hospital to the behavioral health center where patients are pre-registered and then the hospital provides transportation to their clinic for those pre-registered. Patients are bypassing the admitting department, bypassing outpatient registration and all of that and going straight to the test.
That really lessens the angst that sometimes comes with hospital services. Often when these patients go to the hospital it is often associated with a critical condition or emergency care. Emergency rooms and hospitals really trigger a reflex for some of them, and we try to take care of those external testing and monitoring needs with adding to the stress and angst of these patients.
Dr. Salerno explains that these are usually outpatient programs at the centers where they come in at 8 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m. It is a captive population and you have a better infrastructure because you have care managers, social workers, psychiatrists, therapists all there. “It makes such logical sense. Why not just integrate primary care and complete the full circle?” he asks hypothetically. “We started doing that years go and it’s like a home run every time at bat. “
— Call 973-676-0955 to learn more about CHOP and our community health intervention programs like fully integrated primary care—