Despite the challenges of 2020, Grace experienced unprecedented growth
Orlando ― More than 180,000 people in Orange County are uninsured, lacking access to basic health care necessities like annual check-ups, prescription medications, and cancer screenings. Keeping a roof over their heads, putting food on the table, or maintaining reliable transportation often takes precedence over medical care. “Grace Medical Home is here to change all of that,” said Stephanie N. Garris, chief executive officer of Grace Medical Home, upon the release of their annual Year in Review statistics and Annual Report for 2020.
At Grace, primary care providers work in tandem with mental health counselors, dieticians, specialty care physicians, dentists and others to make sure every patient has access to care and support to address their unique health care needs. The scope of care ranges from basic annual check-ups to coordinating life-saving surgery with referral partners. Grace also addresses the social determinants of health like food insecurity and housing instability to connect patients with the resources they need to achieve optimal health outcomes.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Grace exceeded prior year’s accomplishments in several areas. Both the number of patients served and the number of patient encounters increased last year. In 2020, the value of care provided was $6,817,539. The number of dental visits tripled from 2019 to 2020. And volunteers provided 2,000 more hours of service from 2019 to 2020.
“To say that 2020 was an unusual year is an understatement,” Garris continued. “Many health clinics across the country were forced to cut their services and/or close their doors. While we addressed many of the same challenges and opportunities as other health systems, Grace Medical Home never said it would be easier to close. Quite the opposite. As bad as it was for us, our motivation remained our patients who were even more vulnerable. We’re ‘their place’ to come for care – they were counting on us. They needed us more than ever. We couldn’t close. Instead, we expanded our services to meet our patients where they were – in their homes.”
Like other businesses, Grace pivoted to deliver healthcare in a different manner. Last March, funded by a grant from Orange County Government, Grace launched Mend, a HIPAA-compliant platform that allowed for virtual patient appointments. “We had no idea at the time that program would become vital to continuing to deliver patient care in the midst of the county shutdown due to COVID-19,” Garris said. “During the early months of the pandemic, more than 70% of patients who used telehealth reported that they wouldn’t have been able to get medical care without it. This service continues to play a pivotal role in providing quality, ongoing care for our vulnerable patient population.”
“Another aspect of care that sets Grace apart is the strong relationships we build with our patients,” said Garris. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the national average for a hospital stay is 4.5 days. The average length of stay for Grace patients is 686 days and patients visit Grace an average of 11 times during a year. “In hospital settings, the goal is to reduce the length of stay. At Grace, the opposite is the focus – to build strong provider/patient relationships to support and advance patients’ health and wellbeing.”
For more information about Grace Medical Home, visit www.gracemedicalhome.org