By Jorge Rubal, CEO & Medical Director,
Laguna Beach Community Clinic
For me, the holiday season has always been about homecoming. Be it returning to the warm and familiar home of my childhood or opening the door of my own home to welcome friends and family. Home is synonymous with comfort, warmth, and ease.
Did you know that you can have a medical home too? It’s not just a turn of phrase. A medical home is a patient-centered model of care that puts you, the patient, at the forefront. It’s an actual government designation that requires a demonstrated commitment to providing comprehensive and continuous care with the goal of maximizing health, plus increasing access and satisfaction.
There’s a lot that goes into being a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) but I’m going to boil it down to one essential ingredient – relationship; it’s all about relationship.
It’s always been my approach to form relationships with my patients, as it has been with the doctors that came before me, and the ones I serve with today, at the Laguna Beach Community Clinic. So it seemed like a natural fit to pursue this certification, which we were awarded in 2015, and continue to maintain.
We make it a priority to get to know our patients. We do this in a global fashion, by tracking certain tests and proactively reaching out to those individuals whose diseases aren’t well controlled. We obtain personalized surveys to ensure we are meeting people’s needs, be it ideal hours, services provided, or other suggestions for practice improvement. We have expanded our outreach in the community, both with our Annual Clinical Symposium as well as more informal events like our Salsa Sundays.
We involve patients in their personalized plan of care. Under our guidance, the patient is the one who sets their goals, whether it is a weight loss target or maintaining medication compliance. We then help track this, which provides empowerment of their own health. They are able to take ownership and actively manage their diseases, which is the cornerstone to ongoing success.
Research shows that PCMHs improve quality and the patient experience, and increase staff satisfaction – while reducing health care costs. This has proven to be true in the lives of our own patients here in Laguna Beach as well.
Just like any home, we are filled with stories and traditions. One story a patient recently told me really speaks to the essence of home. She shared that her mother brought her to the clinic for checkups when she was just a little girl, how she remembered the nurses gently reminding her not to run in the halls, how she grew to feel comfortable, and how she trusts us with the care of her own children today. As the director of a medical home, hearing her tell her story was a gift.
It’s also been gratifying to know that over the past 12 months, more than 1,200 new patients have chosen us as their medical home. I truly believe everyone should experience the level of personal care provided at a medical home, whether it be here with us or another facility. So, from our home to yours, have a wonderful holiday season and a blessed new year filled with love, hope, and health.