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2009 Winter Marillac Clinic Director's Corner

Patient-centered care is leading the way in delivering high quality health care and bringing down costs. . .by Steve Hurd, PhD., Executive Director


In 1967, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced the model of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).  The PCMH is a partnership between an individual provider and an individual patient manifested by seven key features: accessible, family-centered, coordinated, comprehensive, continuous, compassionate, and culturally competent.


In 2001, the Institute of Medicine defined patient-centeredness as “health care that establishes a partnership among practitioners, patients, and their families (when appropriate) to ensure that decisions respect patient wants, needs, and preferences and that patients have the education and support they require to make decision and participate in their own care.” Stated simply, a PCMH focuses on the health of the whole person rather than concentrating on a single symptom or disease.


While an impressive body of literature demonstrates that the PCMH improves outcomes and lowers medical costs, this model is not available to most people in our country.



What Happened?

Unfortunately, the payment system in this country does not promote the PCBH model. It would take a column much longer than this to explain how the current system rewards consumption and utilization of services. Presently, reimbursement favors specialty care over primary care, and expensive procedures rather than strong and continuous patient-provider relationships.


What about Health Care Reform?

A majority of Americans acknowledge that our current system is not working. Several organizations with a national perspective are meeting regularly to discuss reform. Several pilot projects have demonstrated that emphasizing patient relationships and joint decision making effectively reduces costs while increasing patient satisfaction.


What about Marillac Clinic’s Role?


Marillac offers access to medical, dental, mental health, vision and pharmaceutical services conveniently located under one roof. Many Marillac patients utilize more than one line of service during a single visit.


Blended Funding

Marillac Clinic is one of a handful of clinics in this country that is not financed through the traditional fee-for-service model. Patients bring their co-payment to the clinic at the time of their appointments, thus minimizing expensive overhead to collect reimbursement. Even better, our clinicians can spend their time fully attending to the needs of the patients and are not distracted by the challenge of coding each encounter.

We are fortunate indeed in Mesa County to have a resource like Marillac in our community. It is a testament to the vision and leadership of this community. Marillac Clinic has established a record of patient-centered care that identifies the clinic as a leader in best practice for delivering high quality, low-cost health care services.


National Recognition

I recently attended an international conference on the Medical Home concept.  People from Canada and several European countries participated. At the conclusion of the conference, the keynote speaker stated that if he could have medical care anywhere in the world, he would choose to live in Spain.  However, if he lived in this country, he would choose to receive care at Marillac Clinic in Grand Junction, Colorado!

Imagine my surprise, delight and humility to hear our clinic highlighted before an international audience. You can be justifiably proud to have played a role in creating a resource that serves our community so well.


What does supporting Marillac mean to local donors?


Of course, there is still much work to be done.  Last year, Marillac provided over 29,000 visits to 6000 people. However, we know that Marillac is serving only one- fourth of the uninsured residents in our community.

Many uninsured people with low and moderate incomes are not aware of this valuable resource. We work hard every day with outreach and screenings, ads, and public service announcements to spread the word to our residents. We ask you, our supporters, to help publicize the clinic, especially during this time of extraordinary economic challenges.

When you make the choice to support Marillac's mission, you can be confident that your gift will be used in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Marillac's track record of good stewardship matches the excellence of its health care services.

And those 29,000 patient visits last year?

Without Marillac, a lot of those folks would present at area emergency rooms. That means Marillac is saving all of us money on our health care costs.


Please consider a gift to Marillac. When you help a less fortunate neighbor access quality health care, you make our community a better place for all of us to live! Visit us at