CFMC’s First Official Summer Internship Comes to a Close
Caswell Family Medical Center (CFMC) launched the organization’s first summer internship opportunity in 2017. Students were required to apply for the position online via CFMC’s web site, and were screened as would be the case for any other applicant seeking employment with CFMC, but were screened with a very specific project in mind: Reaching out to NC Medicaid patients that have been assigned to CFMC but who have not been to CFMC nor any other primary care provider in the last year.
Patients with North Carolina Medicaid make up a significant portion of CFMC’s patient base. Individuals with Medicaid in North Carolina have the opportunity to choose their primary care provider, and if there is no preference, one is assigned to them. Once assigned, the patients are loaded to the provider’s ‘panel’.
While not unique to Medicaid, many people do not take advantage of a true primary care medical home.
Many times, individuals postpone scheduling wellness and physical appointments and end up having health care issues that escalate to the point to where they require emergency room visits or even hospitalization. In other cases, individuals misuse hospital emergency rooms when seeking care for non-critical issues.
Sadly, there are even those that may have insurance coverage either through Medicaid or some other source (Medicare, employer group insurance, etc.) who choose not to access medical care at all, even when they know they should.
The intern was able to do personal outreach, mostly by phone, to over 231 Medicaid beneficiaries in Caswell that had never been to CFMC, nor any other primary care provider. All were offered appointments with the CFMC medical staff member of their choice. Approximately twenty percent (20%) were successful in either scheduling an appointment or committing to scheduling an appointment very soon.
What about the other eighty percent (80%)? There was a combination of barriers identified. The largest challenge we encountered had to do with outdated contact information. Phone numbers and addresses change often, and unfortunately, that information doesn’t always get communicated in a way that leaves a good way for contact to be made.
There were even those that did not realizing that they had been assigned but did not live convenient to CFMC, in which case they were provided with instructions on how to change their primary care provider with Medicaid.
Despite helping to educate these individuals on the importance of establishing with a primary care provider, there were other invaluable outcomes that came from the lessons learned by going through this process. Doing this work required collaboration with Caswell County Department of Social Services and the Community Care Network of NC (CCNC) Access Care Program.
“Caswell County Department of Social Services is committed to ensuring that Caswell residents have access to the programs and services that can help them meet their needs. Partnering with groups like Caswell Family Medical Center and Community Care Network of NC helps us do that,” said Dianne Moorefield, Director of Caswell County Department of Social Services.
About the Intern:
CFMC had the distinct pleasure of working with Donielle Totten, a young man from Caswell County. Donielle recently completed his first year at North Carolina Wesleyan College, where he is majoring in biology. After completing his undergraduate degree, he plans to apply to medical school and to one day become a radiologist.
Donielle received a stipend for his work at CFMC through the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program. This program has three main focus areas: career, rural communities, and personal growth. Program participants are given an opportunity to gain first-hand experience working in their desired future career field, experience working in a rural community in North Carolina, and the opportunity to gain communication and leadership skills that are highly sought after in the workplace.
“I presented Donielle Totten a Golden LEAF Scholarship certificate when he was graduating from Bartlett Yancey High School,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “I had the distinct pleasure to talk with him about his goals and how the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program could help him gain practical experience for a career. I am delighted that he had this opportunity to build on his academic work at NC Wesleyan through this internship at Caswell Family Medical Center.”
“It was a pleasure working with Donielle during this project. His knowledge of the needs of this patient population and of the community was extremely valuable. He revealed significant barriers and was instrumental in identifying creative ways to engage the patients,” said Kimberly Clark, Community Project Manager for Access Care of Central Carolina.
“Caswell County, NC has so much potential… Connecting with young people like Donielle, who are from Caswell, pursuing higher education in a health care related field, is a direct way in which we as a community can not only give opportunities to grow and learn right here at home but also hopefully be a part of the student’s life long story that will give them passion for helping people and maybe even a passion about returning home after school to take leadership roles in continuing to push Caswell forward!”, said William Crumpton, CEO of Caswell Family Medical Center.