Kaweah Delta Hosts Feb. 23 Open House For New Chronic Disease Center
VISALIA – Kaweah Delta Health Care District will host an open house
on Tuesday, Feb. 23, for its new Chronic Disease Center, which is helping
Tulare County residents get care to manage the nation’s leading
causes of death and disability.
The event will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 325 S. Willis St. in Visalia,
with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. The 12,000-square foot clinic is helping
people manage chronic diseases such as heart failure, hypertension, and
diabetes. Managing such diseases is often a struggle for patients for
a variety of reasons, said Ryan Gates, Director of Population Health Management.
“They may not have access to care, they may need to be reminded to
take their medications regularly or they may struggle with adopting recommended
lifestyle changes. When they are not able to manage their disease, they
end up in the hospital,” Gates said. “This is a chance to
work with patients on an outpatient basis and keep them well.”
The center offers a multi-disciplinary approach with a team that includes
a physician medical director, Harry Lively, M.D., who provides guidance
and direction in providing patient care. Specifically, the center is educating
patients to develop self-care behaviors while helping coordinate and manage
their care after discharge from the hospital or the emergency room, which
can be a tenuous transition, Gates said.
The center is also partnering with community providers to work with patients
who they believe may benefit from deeper engagement, education and collaborative
management. Currently the center is focusing on patients with heart failure
or those who have suffered a heart attack. In the near future, the center
will expand its focus to include other common conditions such as diabetes,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia, etc.
As a result, the clinic is expected to reduce unnecessary emergency room
visits, reduce the length of stay for patients at Kaweah Delta Medical
Center, and reduce 30-day readmission rates for patients.
Dr. Ronald Marconi, a family practice physician, says the clinic will help
people live healthier. “It’s a very exciting concept when
you read the literature and understand that this is going to have the
most impact on patients with congestive heart failure,” Dr. Marconi
said. “They are going to live longer if they get the proper care.”
At the center, patients will be seen by nurse practitioners and clinical
pharmacists in collaboration with the physician medical director. Following
care, they will return to their primary care physician. In addition, a
community outreach worker and social worker are part of the center’s
team. They assess the patients social and financial needs, do home visits
and help patients navigate the healthcare system. If a patient does not
have a primary care physician, the clinic will link them to one for care.
The center will offer infusion, on-site laboratory testing, cardiology
services such as electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and treadmill stress
testing, along with x-rays, IV therapy, education programs, pharmacy services
and more. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
“All of these services are geared around providing actionable, immediate
data. We can get blood draw results in 5-10 minutes of a patient visit
so that we can really address, in real time, the needs of the patient,”