A myriad of resources with a hometown feel at Carbon Medical
Originally incorporated in 1952 to help meet the medical needs of families in Carbon and Emery County, the Carbon Medical Clinic continues to fulfill it's original obligation and to reach new plateaus. With a new director and continued technological advances, the small, quite organization is every inch a full service facility at the forefront of patient care.
The service is anchored in East Carbon but also runs an office out of Helper, working to assist area residents in the county's smaller communities to obtain fast, quality health care at a reasonable cost. The clinic is federally funded and is therefore overseen by federal guidelines. While the clinic is not free, its services can be provided on a sliding fee scale depending on patient income. The service also bills most insurance companies.
Carbon Medical's East Carbon LPN Lisa Clark has been with the operation for 13 years and oversees the clinic's medical assistants and laboratory as well as providing a great deal of patient care. Speaking to the operation's small nature, she explained what she sees as a change in the way family health care is provided.
"We have had some great initial success in moving toward patient centered teams. Meaning a provider, a nurse, maybe a front desk person and the pharmacist all working together with the patient," she explained. "These teams allow the patient to be involved in their health care. We make decisions as a team and the patient knows who all the team members are. We are trying to let patients be in charge of their own health."
The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines the Patient Centered Medical Home Program as a way to improve health care in America by transforming how primary care is organized and delivered. Building on the work of a large and growing community, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines a medical home not simply as a place but as a model of the organization of primary care that delivers the core functions of primary health care.
Shannon Cooper, a medical assistant at the clinic with 13 years of experience, four at the Carbon Clinic, spoke of the facility's uniqueness and ease into patient centered health care.
"It's a different world here and I love it here," she said. "You learn how to do so much. The patients here are our family. And because of our size, it has been less of a challenge for the nurses, providers, pharmacists and front office staff to get on the same page concerning nearly all of our patients."
In addition to patient centered care, the clinic also now operates a patient portal which allows for those in the clinic's care to access their own records online.
"With our patient portal, our clients log onto our website, click on a link and then they can pull up their lab results or request an appointment or a refill," explained new Carbon Medical Director Carolyn Abeyta. "It's all totally private and it's a great way for them to view their medical records as well as contact their provider."
Abeyta took over as the clinic's director when long-time chief Yvonne Jensen was forced to retire due to health reasons. The clinic operates independently as a non-profit organization with a local board of directors.
In addition to the technological changes, the clinic also recently renovated their pharmacy in East Carbon which provides the small east county community with it's only access to prescription medications within their own town.
"We provide a great deal of service here for being such a small shop," said Family Nurse Practitioner David Watkins. "We take care of sick visits, tests, well visits, infant care, women's issues. We provide services just like any other clinic. We are mid-levels and don't get as in-depth as physicians but we can send out referrals to cardiologists, neurologists, anything a patient would need."
Also working as providers in East Carbon are Family Nurse Practitioners Dalen Johnson and Andrea Barneywho provides a wide range of services for female patients who report being more comfortable with a female nurse practitioner.
The clinic also provides immunizations for the young and works with Women and Infant Childcare to help give adequate options on a local level to expecting mothers. Additionally, the clinic has partnered with Four Corners Community Behavioral Health to help provide counseling in the area.
"With a team of people working toward the health of a patient here and the ability to get patients in quickly, this clinic is very effective at treating the sick," said Johnson. "It's a good hometown feel here, most of the people are local and we don't have the volume you see come through in some clinics. We have a little more time to spend with people, and that matters."