WELLONE IN THE NEWS

April 13th, 2015

Small business
A focus on prevention
Nonprofit WellOne serves all ages

MODEL PATIENT: Peter Bancroft, president and CEO of WellOne, says
that the nonprofit has focused on the patient-centered medical-home
model using a team approach to keep clients healthy.

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2015 12:05 am

By Patricia Daddona |
WellOne, today a comprehensive source of primary health and dental care, had its beginnings in an anti-tuberculosis association in 1909.

“Early on, we were making home visits and hosting community clinics,” said Peter Bancroft, president and CEO of the Burrillville-based nonprofit.

In the early 2000s, visiting services were discontinued and facility-based services became the principal focus, first in the Pascoag section of Burrillville, then in 2008 in North Kingstown and in 2009 in Foster. A Glocester location ultimately closed in 2003.

“The business model really didn’t work anymore,” Bancroft said. “For home health care, the federal government changed the way they paid for those services, and we would have had to affiliate with a hospital. The board of directors felt the community could best be served by an organization that was free-standing and was able to be more responsive to the local community.”

In 2002, the nonprofit added dental care and in 2003 added behavioral-health services, he said.
Today, the strength of services provided, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, by these three sites is evident in the way the nonprofit works to meet the new expectations of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The mantra, says Bancroft, is better health, higher quality and lower cost.

“Our major approach to accomplishing that is through the use of the patient-centered medical-home model,” he said. “A patient comes here and we coordinate care, but it’s more than coming when you’re sick: you’re a member of a health care team and we work to keep you healthy.”
That means coordinating patient care with specialists, communicating with hospitals and pharmacies and avoiding duplication of services as information about the patient is shared electronically with other caregivers, he said.

Run by a volunteer board of directors, of whom more than half, according to nonprofit bylaws, are patients, the nonprofit is one of nine community health centers in Rhode Island. Collectively they host more than 30 different health-center sites and provide care for more than 150,000 Rhode Islanders.

WellOne didn’t adopt its name until 2009. It was the first federally designated, rural health clinic in the country, thanks to federal funding authorized in the late 1970s.

The nonprofit’s mission was and remains focused on preventative and holistic care, he added. In 2002, the nonprofit transitioned to federally qualified health-center status and as such cannot be affiliated with any other health care organization.

“It’s a contract with the federal government in exchange for funding,” he said. “We’re required to provide services to patients of all ages: primary, medical, dental and behavioral health and affordable pharmacy [services]. It works well for the patients: They are able to get a comprehensive set of services under one roof regardless of ability to pay.” •

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