In underserved neighborhoods across America, accessing health care can be an insurmountable challenge, compounding chronic conditions as patients put off doctor visits and skip medications.
Regional One Health is taking the lead in addressing that reality in South Memphis, and patients are benefiting from not only convenient access to providers and medications, but relationships that put them in the driver’s seat of improving their own health.
At the South Third Primary Care clinic, 1955 South Third Street, and now the new South Third Pharmacy inside the Cash Saver grocery store at 1977 South Third Street, Regional One Health practitioners share a commitment to making good health care less a product of one’s zip code and more about their commitment to being well.
Temond LeSure, practice manager at South Third Primary Care, said the clinic cares for patients for their entire lifespan. “We have adult patients who have been coming here for 20 or 30 years, and families where the children see our pediatrician and adults see our nurse practitioners,” he said. “Sometimes the parents are scheduled on the same day as their kids, which really helps.”
They aim to cover all the bases for patients who may struggle to find time and transportation to leave the neighborhood for care.
Carolyn Whitney, MD is the practice’s pediatrician. “She sees patients from newborn babies all the way to age 18,” LeSure said. “As they transition from adolescence to adulthood, they usually see one of our nurse practitioners for their adult care.”
Family nurse practitioners Tamara Banks, Linda Mosby and Kathy White see “a little bit of everything,” from acute illnesses and injuries to preventative care and addressing chronic illnesses, LeSure said. Mosby, who has been there the longest, specializes in geriatric care.
Anthony Hicks, MD, an internal medicine physician, also works with the older population. “Many of his patients are in their 60s, 70s, 80s,” LeSure said. “He has a great bedside manner, and his patients love him.”
Providing quality services for aging patients is crucial, LeSure said, as seniors make up a big portion of the population around South Third Primary Care.
The clinic offers care management services for patients 65 and older, helping them manage chronic conditions so they remain stable. “One of our goals is to keep them out of the ER by educating them on when to use the ER and when not to use the ER,” LeSure said.
They’re also a Patient Centered Medical Home facility. “That means we help quarterback their health care,” LeSure explained. “The primary care provider orchestrates where the patient needs to go – a colonoscopy, a mammogram, a diabetic eye exam. We focus on all those measures so they get the preventative care they need, which keeps them from having to go into the hospital.”
Adding a pharmacy just steps from the clinic supports those goals. “It just made sense, and with Regional One Health’s and Cash Saver’s leadership, here we are. It’s a win-win,” LeSure said.
Lead pharmacist Terrel Chapman, DPh, has been a fixture in the neighborhood for his entire career, and offers advice and support along with medicines. Under his guidance, the South Third Pharmacy is more than a place to pick up a prescription, it’s an extension of the clinic.
The pharmacy also offers extended daily and weekend hours thanks to its location inside Cash Saver, as well as the affordable prices Regional One Health can extend to patients.
LeSure said South Third Primary Care providers see a lot of patients for chronic conditions that can be well-managed by the correct use of prescriptions, like diabetes and hypertension, but patients do struggle with staying on their medication. LeSure and Chapman are working together to get more South Third Primary Care patients to use the pharmacy. Right now, 21 percent do so; they’d like to get the number to 45 percent.
With pharmacy services in place, LeSure’s next goal is adding additional support services at the practice to address patients’ social needs. As LeSure continues working toward that component, he’s pleased to see patients embracing the medical care in their neighborhood. Surveys give South Third Primary Care high marks, and Lesure proudly shares how a patient raved of Mosby, “She is the best doctor I’ve ever had. I love her. Thank God for sending her my way.”
He hopes the clinic and pharmacy can be that sort of lifeline for more residents, noting the team looks forward to enhancing the health not only of individuals, but the community as a whole.