Gero-Friendly Clinic Project
Serving the needs of the senior population in the 21st century
“Between 2012 and 2050, the United States will experience considerable growth in its older population. In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its estimated population of 43.1 million in 2012.” *
According to data from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC),** in 2013 health centers served 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom would not otherwise have access to primary care. Medicare patients currently make up 8.4% of all health center patients nationally, and many health centers serve far more, especially those located in rural areas.
In addition, NACHC estimates that the number of Medicare beneficiaries served by health centers has doubled since 2003. Medicare numbers are projected to grow as health centers expand into new communities and as current patients age into the insurance program. The number of health center patients nearing Medicare eligibility age, those aged 55-64, grew 160% between 2003 and 2013 – faster than any other age group.
With the generous support of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals –Southern California Community Benefits, Partners in Care has been engaged in groundbreaking work on two programs aimed at assisting health clinics meet the needs of the burgeoning senior population.
* An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States. Population Estimates and Projections. US Census Bureau. Issued May 2014
** National Association of Community Health Centers, Dec 2014 Fact Sheet, Health Centers and Medicare: Caring for America’s Seniors
Project LA Geriatric Knowledge Network (GKN)
With the generous support of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals –Southern California Community Benefits, the Project LA Geriatric Knowledge Network (GKN) was created by Partners in Care, in collaboration with Project ECHO LA. Project ECHO is a model for lifelong medical learning and collaborative practice that links front-line primary care clinicians with specialist care teams at university medical centers to manage patients who have chronic conditions requiring complex care.
Using video conferencing, the GKN program provided clinic providers with easy-access learning, and a platform to share and disseminate best practices in the rapidly-evolving field of geriatric medicine. Each session provided a presentation, resource materials, case presentations and input from expert mentors as well as other participants. Sessions were led by Specialist Mentor, Alison A. Moore, MD, MPH, FACP Board Certified in Internal and Geriatric Medicine, Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry-David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Division of Geriatrics. MD Specialist Guests were Lee Jennings, MD, Board Certified in Geriatric Medicine and Heather Bennett-Schickedanz, MD, Board Certified in Geriatric Medicine, with additional contributions by Sarah Mourra, MD/DO, UCLA Mental Health Center.
48 Sessions were held from October 2014-December 2016. Topics included nutritional issues in the elderly, managing behavioral symptoms of dementia, late life depression in older adults, problems caused by polypharmacy, and working with caregivers of older adults.
Although the geriatric sessions are now on hiatus, recordings of the sessions are archived and accessible to ECHO participants.
Register HERE for access to the archived geriatric sessions.
For more information on the Project LA Geriatric Knowledge Network and The Gero-Friendly Clinic, please contact Katheryn Howell, Project Director at firstname.lastname@example.org / 818 837 3775 x 115
Participants rate the sessions highly (88% very or extremely satisfied) and have suggested pertinent and pressing future topics, including advance directives and end-of-life care, community resources and navigation, fitness/exercise for older adults, accessing durable medical equipment like walkers, and surgical decision-making for older adults (risk/benefit of procedures). The GKN is supplemented with the Gero-Friendly Clinic Readiness Assessment tool to support clinics in assessing system barriers and developing ways to address them.
The Gero-Friendly Clinic (GFC)
The Gero-Friendly Clinic is a new model designed to meet the needs of seniors and dually eligible beneficiaries that will extend the basic values and strengths of community Health Clinics (CHCs). The purpose is to create a Gero-Friendly experience for patients, especially those with more complex and advanced chronic conditions.
The goal is to increase the knowledge and capacity of community clinics across Los Angeles County and ensure that clinic providers are able to deliver appropriate, high quality services to the growing older population.
To this end, the Gero-friendly Clinic workgroup has engaged key physician leaders and has begun deployment of GFC assessment tools for testing. These tools help clinic providers and office staff as they consider developing the Gero-Friendly initiative, specific to their site of care. They have been developed using several highly respected geriatric care best practice resource guides and the input of renowned practicing geriatricians.
This critical strategy will facilitate community clinics’ efforts to attract and retain Medicare and dually eligible patients through a welcoming infrastructure, environment and clinical capacity providing enhanced patient experience and outcomes for their extended health and well-being.
Our Project Partners
The Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC) and our members share a common mission of supporting and expanding access to quality comprehensive health care for every individual.
Project ECHO L.A.™ is part of LA Net, a Primary Care Practice-Based Research and Resource Network in Los Angeles. LA Net is bringing the ECHO™ model to Southern California in efforts to replicate a best practice as a force-multiplier.