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Caring is the Emphasis of MemberCare

If you watch television or listen to radio, you know it is open enrollment season for health insurance. All the ads for health plans talk about coverage. Let’s be clear: coverage is a card in your wallet. Healthcare is access to a doctor when you need one. When someone enrolls with CHC, what do they have; care or coverage?

MemberCare focus is health care: CARING for the WHOLE PERSON.

 

What do you have when you have MemberCare?

Cost Savings:
Any parent knows that sooner or later one of the kids will need a doctor. Before joining CHC, the Berger family (not their real name) had taken their rambunctious 8-year-old son to the emergency room two separate times to get stitches resulting from falls, costing them $2,000 each time. Joining CHC didn’t slow down their son, but mom and dad didn’t have to spend another $2,000 the third time he fell and needed stitches. Their CHC membership provided for an after-hours visit to get him sewn up, with no additional cost. The $2,000 savings for this one incident is nearly the cost of MemberCare for a family for an entire year.

Access:
As a CHC member, you have your doctor’s cell phone and email. When you get sick, are traveling out-of-state and develop a mysterious rash or develop symptoms of illness, you can directly connect with your doctor. Many times, your doctor can take care of your needs without the hassle of an office visit. If you need to be seen by your doctor, we do everything in our power to provide a timely visit. If you need an hour with your doctor, you can get an hour with your doctor. There may even be times when the doctor needs to come to you.

Recently, the daughter of a CHC family who lives more than 100 miles from the Center needed to be seen by a doctor, but her parents could not make the trip to Grand Rapids. Our pediatrician was vacationing near the family’s home, so she made a home visit, providing tremendous relief for mom and daughter. We cannot always guarantee one of our doctors will be able to make a house call, but we do our best when needed.

Advocates:
MemberCare means having someone who knows the healthcare system and can navigate it on your behalf. One example is a CHC member whose self-breast exam discovered a lump. She contacted the office and was told to come right in to the office to be seen. Her CHC physician did an ultrasound and confirmed there was a suspicious lump, which led to our patient advocate, Marisa, contacting the top breast cancer surgeon in West Michigan.  Our patient was able to be seen the very next day (usually takes weeks). A biopsy was performed during this visit (almost never happens), a pathology report revealed the lump to be malignant, so surgery was scheduled for five days later (rarely happens that fast). The member did not have to make any calls to facilitate her treatment; Marisa handled it all on her behalf. We do the calling, price negotiating and scheduling so you don’t have to.

Intercessors:
Our care-giving is not limited to providing medical services. Some people are physically well, but their quality of life and wellbeing is being disrupted by other concerns that, if left alone, will ultimately have a negative impact on health. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Our doctors do not limit their attention to your physical needs. They don’t rush out of the exam room once the medical stuff is done. They don’t just treat diseases or organs; they care for people. Their concern extends beyond the physical needs of members. They want to keep you at your best, not simply see you at your worst. They take the time to listen to what is most important to you. Praying with you, sharing biblical principles, encouraging you and even on occasion scolding you for making some wrong choices is all part of caring for you. Without disclosing personal information, the CHC staff prays for members. That is part of being an advocate for you and your family.

Family:
We want MemberCare to feel more like having a doctor in the family than mere professional relationship. That may strike you as odd, given the hurried pace of modern medicine and waiting rooms crammed with sick people waiting to be seen. We strive to know everyone in the family and to make each office visit feel like the doctor is caring for a family member, not just another patient. We haven’t “arrived” by any means, but member comments like the following suggest we’re making progress:

“I feel like our whole family is known, loved and cared for personally, from the moment we walk in the door and greet the receptionists, to the friendly nurse taking vitals, to the doctor who never seems rushed, and through to the check-out process. After the first appointment, the word we keep using about this model of healthcare is “refreshing.”

 

Article by:  Mark Blocher, CEO and Founder

4 Practical Ways That You Can Enhance A Patient’s Experience

Most medical professionals make their patient’s experience a priority to ensure that the individual is satisfied with their appointments and treatments. The level of the patient’s experience influences the trust that is established and how well they communicate and listen to the practitioner. If you want to enhance a patient’s experience and have better patient reviews, there are a few necessary tips to follow.

1. Offer Charging Stations

This step is not strictly necessary, but is definitely a practical convenience for patients. Allow your patients to stay connected to their smartphones and tablets with multiple charging stations that are provided in the waiting rooms and are free to use. If their devices are charged, they can easily keep their loved ones updated on their condition. Patients will also have more patience with the wait times when they can use their electronic devices to stay busy and distracted.

2. Show Empathy

Medical professionals should practice having empathy and compassion when a patient isn’t feeling well. Practice empathy by making eye contact, using a kind tone of voice, and sitting or standing with an open posture. Allow for enough time to talk with patients about their individual situation. Follow up with patients later, either through a phone call or an email, to show that you care about the individual’s well-being and their experience with your medical facility. Be open to suggestions for improvement.

3. Provide Flexible Visiting Hours

Evidence suggests that most patients, visitors, and medical staff have been shown to prefer protected mealtimes, limited numbers of visitors per patient, set visiting hours, and a set quiet time in place. However, many patients and visitors disagree with staff about the policies on limiting visitors and visiting hours, arguing that the policies are too inflexible. For example, in a 2008 study, patients and visitors were unsatisfied by the number of visitors allowed to see a patient at any one time. Most patients and visitors agreed that up to 4 visitors at any one time was acceptable, while most staff agreed that only 2 visitors at any one time was acceptable. In order to improve patient satisfaction, consider implementing policies that are more generous with visiting hour flexibility and with the number of visitors permitted to see a patient at once. This ensures that patients, families, and other visitors can have more freedom over their schedule and their time.

4. Improve Patient Education

Medical professionals can communicate to their patients more effectively with patient education to ensure that they have a better understanding of their condition or prognosis. Again, take time to communicate with patients. Patients who feel rushed by staff during their visit won’t feel like their health is a priority and won’t have the freedom to ask questions about how they can improve their health. To help educate patients about their conditions and medications, provide resources such as pamphlets, videos, websites, and more. This will ensure that the patient feels informed about their individual situation and will build their trust in you and the care you provide.

 

Enhancing a patient’s experience will benefit the patients, the staff, and the medical facility. Patients will develop loyalty for medical providers that show they care, and they will be more likely to return when they need additional medical services.

 

Resources:

ChargeTech

Opti Staffing

Nursing Times

Sonifi Health Patient Education

The Economic Value of MemberCare

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is,

“Does a CHC membership save me money on medical expenses?”

Since Christian Healthcare Centers is based on a stewardship model of healthcare delivery, it is a fair question. Everyone wants value for the money they spend. Below is a chart showing the most common medical needs we treat and their average cost if paid out-of-pocket by someone without insurance. All pricing is based on published Blue Cross/Blue Shield fee schedules.

Need/Complaint Average Cash Price Outside of CHC MemberCare Price Savings to Member
Annual adult exam $200-500  w/ECG Included $200 – 500
Basic Blood panel for annual exam $260 Included $260
Adult sick visit $150 Included $150
Well child visit $160 Included $160
Strep $200 Included $200
Minor laceration w/sutures $300 Included $300
Suspected pneumonia exam w/ x-ray $300 Included $300
Child/adult limb x-ray $180 Included $180
Pink eye, rash, impetigo $150 Included $150
Urinary tract infection $125 Included $150
Ear wax removal $40 Included $40
Mole removal $100-500 Included $100-500
Nebulizer treatment $60 Included $60
Counseling session $75-100/hr Included $75-100

In 2016, the JPMorgan Chase Institute conducted a study of 2.3 million customers to determine the impact of out-of-pocket medical expenses on individual credit card debt and credit scores. The study’s authors wrote, “Out-of-pocket health care spending has a meaningful impact on families’ financial lives and their ability to access credit.”  The number one reason for personal bankruptcy is medical expense, and almost 50% of American households carry credit card debt from out-of-pocket medical expenses. Only 17% of households had no out-of-pocket medical expenses. The study also found that the cost of healthcare was the number one reason families delayed seeking timely preventative, acute and urgent care from a primary care physician, resulting in significantly higher costs later when more urgent or emergency care was required.

Since opening our doors in July 2017, Christian Healthcare Centers saved CHC members over $240,000 on medical services that will not end up on credit cards.

This dollar figure does not include savings on medications, x-rays, immunizations, or pre-negotiated discounts on screenings, specialists or surgery. In other words, CHC members receive significant financial savings.

For example, the annual cost of an adult CHC membership is $960 or $80 per month. According to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the cash cost of an annual exam that includes an ECG and routine blood work for an uninsured male is $550 and $600 for an uninsured adult female, which includes a Pap smear. These services are included with CHC MemberCare. Annual exams for a family of four (two adults/ two children) would be worth $1520 if they paid the cash price out-of-pocket. Since an annual family CHC membership costs $2160, this leaves $640 to cover any other services CHC provides to the family for the remainder of the year.

Based on current utilization rates, the average CHC member saves $450 in medical costs per year beyond their membership fee. For children, the savings is much higher since the cost of a child’s membership is $120 per year. Where else can parents secure unlimited pediatric care for $120 a year? Where else can you secure unlimited primary care for the cost of a cell phone bill?

If you agree with us that CHC MemberCare is a good financial investment, tell your family and friends. We would love to save them money too.    

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4 Updates in Healthcare Technology that Can Streamline Your Practice

Doctors always look for new and improved ways to do their jobs. Many use computers and automated machines to help diagnose diseases, administer medications, and keep patient’s healthcare information safe. There are many advantages to keeping yourself and your practice up-to-date with the changes being made in technology. Learn about these four different technologies that will improve your medical business operations.

 

1. Electronic Recordkeeping

 

Recently, the healthcare industry has undertaken a widespread adoption of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Countless clinics, doctor’s offices, and hospitals are going paperless by replacing paper records with electronic versions. The EHR system, in particular, makes it easier to connect a wide range of healthcare networks, allowing hospitals to transmit data about their patients within a few minutes. The trend towards standardization under this EHR format is a popular one; Bell Family Dental explains that paper charting “is difficult to keep standardized” because of differences in handwriting and coding, but that electronic recordkeeping (like EHR) “eliminates this problem by using consistent charting methods that are accurate and precise… Digital charting standardizes the charting process so it is clear, easy to understand, and enables us to provide on the most accurate and precise care to our patients.”

2. Remote Patient Monitoring

 

Remote patient monitoring technology allows doctors and nurses to monitor patients at home and outside of the hospital. The monitors consist of computers and wireless devices with sensors that are attached to the body. The information is monitored to review changes in the patient’s vital signs, heartbeats or blood pressure levels. The data is transmitted in real time, and doctors are able to communicate with patients immediately. Jon Otterstatter of Preventice Inc. says that “providers are turning to technology like remote monitoring to diagnose and treat more patients in ways that use time, money and human resources efficiently and effectively.”

 

3. Patient Management Software

 

In the last few decades, nurses have been spending an increasing amount of time doing paperwork and other administrative duties, rather than working with patients; in fact, surveys and studies show that nurses spend about a quarter of each shift specifically on paperwork. Management software is available for use by general office managers and assistants. Patient management software is designed to automate and streamline every administrative task that takes place in a healthcare facility. Users are able to manage all of the patients’ appointments, bills, and insurance claims in one database. This automation means that doctors have immediate access to patient information, and staff members have more time to focus on patient care.

 

4. Barcode Technology

 

In stores, cashiers use barcodes to learn every detail about a certain product. In hospitals, doctors scan barcodes on patients’ wristbands to view the patient’s name, identification number and medical record. They scan the labels on prescription drug packages to view the drug name, brand, description and recommended dosage. The information appears immediately on a computer and in significant detail. This method also increases the use of computers to reduce the risks of making medical errors on paper records.

 

In the past few decades, major improvements have been made in the area of healthcare technology. Doctors, scientists, and engineers are continuing to create new ideas that help patients and serve God. If you are managing a healthcare business, pay close attention to the innovations and include many of these ideas into your business operations.

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How a Career in Healthcare Serves God

If you are a person of faith, then you are probably seeking a vocation that can bring fulfillment to your life. However, in today’s world, this can be a challenge. There are so many avenues that could lead you astray. However, when it comes to healthcare, it cannot just bring you joy, but also serve God. Here is how:

Healing

God loves those who heal. Just look at Jesus’ example. Healing is a holy endeavor. If you are a professional healer, you will find a lot more meaning in your career as well as in your personal life. It’s a bonus that you get to feel good about yourself at the end of the day as well.

 

Helping

If you want to honor God by helping others, then look no further than the healthcare industry. Every day your main job is to help someone else. They might have a broken bone, a fever, or something worse. But by serving others you are truly serving others and showing your worth as a fellow child of God.

 

Selflessness

There is nothing God loves more than people who sacrifice for others in an act of love. If you are a healthcare worker, you are giving your time and energy in the hopes to heal others. This is putting them before you and thus more god-like than other professions.

 

Compassion

Compassion is an important part of any life path. Looking at a Christian hospital for qualified doctors or medical assistants is something many recruiters do, because they offer another level of care for patients under them. It’s no surprise then why a career in healthcare can meet your personal needs while also serving others.

Having compassion is not easy, but it is a vital component of healthcare. You might not agree with one of your patient’s life choices or their political beliefs, but it is still your duty to serve them at the highest level. This kind of philosophy will help you when it comes to all other aspects of your life.

 

When it comes to choosing a career, you should always go for something that you truly feel you can perform well. Of course, beyond that, you need something that is fulfilling. For many people this is a career that brings you closer to God. So consider healthcare next time you are making a career choice. It could be the vehicle that changes everything for you and helps you with your faithful life.

What Can You do to Encourage Abstinence?

American media saturates youth culture with sexual images, sounds and feelings, promoting early sexualization of our children and encouraging them to make bad choices about sex.  Is there really anything parents can do to help their children?  Yes! Research shows that having household standards of rules and expectations for your kid’s behavior and monitoring what your kids do, such as the TV shows they watch, the music they buy and what they access on the Internet can reduce by 75% the chance that your child will be involved with high-risk activities as a teen.

Here are some specific suggestions to consider to help reduce sexualization of your children/teens:

  1. Regulate and monitor your children’s exposure to entertainment media (including TV, movies, magazines and internet). Research indicates that watching and listening to sexual material encourages kids to become sexually active earlier.  Some TV sitcoms and movies may be viewed as cute and innocent but in reality teach and model sexual promiscuity (even at young ages) in a way that can change the thinking, emotions and even behavior of your children. Consider not allowing children to have a TV in their room (as this can make it harder to monitor, encourages more screen time and can encourage a child to isolate from the family). Having an internet filter, being your child’s “Friend” on Facebook, and only allowing children to surf the internet when they are supervised can also help protect them.
  2. Research shows that teens who know that their parents expect them to be sexually abstinent are more likely to make this choice, especially if parents have a warm, supportive and loving relationship with them. Communicate your expectations as your children grow older, such as if your family expectation is that they should save sex for marriage. When your child is 11-12 years old, consider taking them on a special overnight trip (ideally moms with daughters and dads with sons) to focus on imparting your values on these issues and helping to equip your child to make wise decisions as a teen in a sex-saturated culture (one popular resource with a sexual purity emphasis that some families use for this type of overnight trip is called Passport2Purity Getaway Kit).  
  3. Start early with teaching your children, especially your daughters, to dress modestly. This can be an opportunity to teach them how valuable they are and to respect themselves.  For your daughters, consider discouraging early use of make-up and jewelry that can make a child appear older and more mature.
  4. Help your child make good connections. Hang out with other families who share your values and who have children the approximate age of your children.  Research also suggests that being involved with a healthy religious organization may also help your child to make good choices about sex as a teen.
  5. Start talking to your children early about these issues. First messages are the most powerful; why wait until your child hears the wrong thing and then try to correct the misunderstanding?  As a parent, establish yourself as the trusted “expert” to your child on these matters as they grow.  If you stand silent on sex while the rest of the world is abuzz about it, kids come to the conclusion that you cannot help them in this key area. There is so much you can do just in small conversations along the way that help lay a good foundation for when your children are teens, so take advantage of teachable moments.   For example, when kids are 3-5 years old, one way to start the dialogue is to talk about how babies are born as boys or girls and how their basic anatomy differs (perhaps you can bring this up when someone you know delivers a baby).  Use correct anatomical terms and avoid presenting sexuality as something dirty.  The term “privates” can be a respectful word to use, but define male/female anatomy terms for children when they can grasp this.
  6. Keep the conversation going about sexuality as your child grows. Your child wants you to be the one who teaches them about sex, even if they’d never tell you they want that!  Most preteens/teens actually wish their parents would talk to them more about sex.  Most teens want you to be the one who initiates these conversations and for you to keep the dialogue going.  This will be easier if you start early!
  7. Help protect your children from pornography. Many children are stumbling upon or being led to pornography at young ages.  The average age of first internet exposure to porn is 11 years old. 70% of children have inadvertently viewed online pornography.
  8. Be a good example. If you are married, maintain a healthy marriage and loving relationship with your spouse.  If you are not married, make wise choices about dating, etc because your actions are likely to have a big influence on your children’s future choices.
  9. Use authoritative discipline. See www.goodparent.org.  Give your children boundaries for curfew, dating, etc based on their maturity level.

Philosophy of Wellness

 

Christian Healthcare Centers provides a distinctive approach to the promotion of wellness and the provision of health care. We are an unapologetically Christian, Christ-centered and patient-focused collaborative community.

God Heals – We Help

As Creator, God is the most knowledgeable being to deal with sickness, disease and death. We affirm that God can heal with or without a physician. With this in mind, we include prayer among the resources we bring to bear on the needs of patients.

Wellness, not Disease Management

Since we believe each person is created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), CHC providers are devoted to enhancing wellness of the whole person. We do not treat patients as a collection of organ systems or merely natural processes, but as whole beings.

Spiritual Care is Essential to Wellness

Spiritual health is an essential component of a person’s total wellness. Using medical interventions to compensate for immoral actions is, at best, a temporary solution. We believe spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, engagement with Scripture, active participation in a local church, applying biblical principles regarding marriage/family, finances, relationships, vocation) are essential for a person to experience their optimum overall wellness in mind, body and spirit.

Access to Health Care

As a non-profit Christian ministry, we make every effort to ensure that members have access to high-quality wellness services by controlling costs, minimizing administrative overhead and exercising good stewardship of medical resources. Our MemberCare Assistance Program is designed to help low-income individuals and families sustain their CHC membership to ensure uninterrupted and unencumbered access to our services. Ten percent of gross revenue is dedicated to our MemberCare Assistance Program.

Best Practices – Best Research – Innovative

CHC is an integrated collaborative community of Christian wellness providers. We employ or refer to physicians, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, nutritionists, counselors, fitness coaches and other allied wellness professionals to ensure members have access to state of the art resources. We are committed to integrating into our wellness services the best practices and standards of care available, whether from scientific research, clinical practice, professional experience, biblical teaching or other sources of knowledge. We use the best diagnostic and treatment protocols available, and our practitioners are committed to continuing their professional development through continuing medical education, conferences, professional journals and online resources.

Communication with Members

We strive to engage in open and honest communication with our members. We will protect their personal and medical information in accord with all relevant laws and biblical ethics. We will not disclose personal or confidential medical information to any third party unless authorized by the member, under subpoena or search warrant.

Transparency and Accountability

As a Christian ministry, we strive to be transparent with members. Financial information will be provided on our website or upon demand. We engage independent certified public accountants to audit our finances and produce an annual report to members and the federal government. The Board of Directors approves compensation and ensures that funds are used exclusively to further the vision, mission and values of the ministry.

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