The Leahy Clinic: An Opportunity Like No Other

The University of Scranton’s Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured earned a 2020 Gold Rating from the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) Quality Standards Program.

As a member of NAFC, the Leahy Clinic is required to quantify and qualify the care provided utilizing a formalized set of quality standards set forth by this national association. Voluntary submission of information to the NAFC on the various policies and procedures is required to attain their standards rating along with validation that they are successfully incorporated within the organization. NAFC quality standards elements included policies and procedures related to the following areas: administrative, enhanced access and continuity of care, identifying and managing patient population information, planning and managing care, providing self-care support and community resources, tracking and coordinating care and measuring and improving performance.

Procedures documented by the Leahy Clinic, Lackawanna County’s only free clinic, include reports of the diversity in its racial, ethnic and language composition within the patient population. Language services and multi-lingual staff of the clinic interpret for the patient utilizing culturally specific dialects that decrease the possibility for misdiagnosis due to lack of understanding in both directions of interpretation. The Leahy Clinic has also established relationships with medical and diagnostic specialists with the goal of improving overall health and decreasing inappropriate Emergency Department utilization due to lack of accessible care, by implementing a patient navigation system.

“We have been members of NAFC for the past 10 years, and along with University of Scranton students, have been able to develop resources and provide patient care based on best practices for delivery of outpatient care,” said Andrea Mantione, D.N.P., director of the University’s Leahy Community Health and Family Center, which includes the Leahy Clinic. Both Dr. Mantione and Maria Vital, Ph.D., operations manager at the Leahy Community Health and Family Center, have been featured as guest speakers to NAFC’s national audience.

“We continue to work with both the National and State Association of Free and Charitable Clinic as a model of high quality health care delivery to our most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Mantione. “We are excited to have received this top rating highlighting our commitment to providing quality care for our patients.”

The Leahy Clinic, now in its 13th year of operation at the University’s Panuska College of Professional Studies, provides free non-emergency healthcare to uninsured Lackawanna County residents who may otherwise forego healthcare due to cost or seek care in hospital emergency rooms. Through the innovative collaboration of community health provider volunteers with undergraduate and graduate student volunteers and faculty members, as well as other University resources, the Leahy Clinic has been able to offer free care that includes medical, counseling, physical therapy and low vision services, along with exercise and nutrition classes. Since 2007, the clinic has served more than 7,000 individual patients through more than 16,000 visits.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is working to ensure that the medically underserved have access to affordable quality health care and strives to be a national voice promoting quality health care for all. Both the NAFC and The Leahy Clinic for the Uninsured are dedicated to ensuring that patients receive quality health care.


The Leahy Clinic provides unparalleled academic experience and hands-on opportunities for our health care students.
Learn more about the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

We Celebrate Nurses!

Nurses deserve to be celebrated, especially now.

Check out this collection of stories and Royals Respond honor roll entries that highlight our Royal Nurses!


Learn more about a Graduate Nursing education at Scranton:

 

25-Year-Old Partnership Focuses on Global Health

Since 1995, The University of Scranton has engaged in a Health Management Education Partnership with Trnava University in Trnava, Slovakia.

The long-standing partnership between the two Jesuit universities, which in the past has received support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. funding sources, was recently enhanced by support from an Erasmus+ grant from the European Union. Erasmus+ is the European Union’s program that provides opportunities for over 4 million participants to study, train, gain experience and volunteer abroad and also supports activities with partner countries.

“Our partnership with Trnava University first started when Father Panuska was president of The University of Scranton and U.S. agencies were giving aid to former Soviet Union and Central European countries. The U.S. aid focused on creating programs that were sustainable, and we certainly did that with this partnership,” said Daniel J. West Jr., Ph.D., professor and chair of Scranton’s Department of Health Administration and Human Resources.

“Today, the European Union is providing support to the partnership. This is a continuation in cooperation with a move of support from the U.S. side to the E.U. side,” said Viera Rusnakova, M.D., Ph.D., vice dean for international relations and development at Trnava University and affiliated faculty member for health administration at the University, during a recent visit to Scranton as part of this program.

The Erasmus+ supported project was developed by Trnava University to sustain the long-term cooperation with Scranton and to improve the mobility of teachers to further strengthen the international dimension of the program, especially in research and pedagogical capacities of both partnerships. The project builds on existing cooperation that includes study visits, exchanges of lecturers and students, joint conferences and research publication especially in the area of health administration education and public health and social work.

“The previous 20-plus years of collaboration has had an indisputable impact on the improvement of quality of education at Trnava University and its workplaces, supporting international auditing and providing expertise from the American side of the university, as well as quality assurance at healthcare facilities in Slovakia,” said Martin Rusnak, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Public Health at Trnava University and affiliated faculty member for health administration at Scranton.

Dr. West said that the program has produced much research that has been disseminated through publications, as well as “by faculty sharing research with students in the classroom, so the international mobility of teachers is a crucial element to the sharing of information.”

“And, the international dimension of health care important component of education and research,” said Dr. Rusnakova.

According to Drs. Rusnakova and Rusnak, Trnava University provides opportunities to address health problems not only in Slovakia, but also in international and global contexts. They explained that the issues addressed cross national borders or have a global political and economic impact. They include improving health (including mental health), reducing health inequalities and protecting against global threats. Attention is paid to the problems of travel medicine, as well as to migration, population aging and chronic diseases, a common response to natural disasters and persistent threats to infectious diseases. Thus, the focus is not just about comparing and identifying differences in health across countries, but rather finding common features in terms of possible collective, partnership-based activities.

“Global health is aimed at citizens around the world, promotes interpersonal understanding and calls for the cultivation of such approaches,” said Dr. Rusnakova.

For the future, the partners are examining executive certificate programs and joint degree possibilities and are looking to develop technologies capable to deliver these programs.

Nursing: The Year of the Midwife

PCPS Dean Debra Pellegrino filled us in on the bright futures for nurses!

Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. These are the people who devote their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. They are often, the first and only point of care in their communities. The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. –World Health Organization

Check out this podcast from NPR:
NPR: Calling the Shots in the Year of the Nurse and Midwife


Check out our graduate nursing programs: Nursing Practice (DNP), Nurse Anesthesia (DNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN), Executive Nurse Leadership (MSN) and Adult Gerontology- Clinical Nurse Specialist (MSN).

Social Media in the Healthcare Profession

Top 5 Ways Social Media is Used by Healthcare Professionals

Social media has become widely used by individuals and businesses to stay connected, communicate and even market products or services. As these sites evolve and become a prevalent way of reaching out to consumers, healthcare professionals are finding new, effective ways to utilize social media.

Social Media and Healthcare

Many healthcare managers are working to effectively utilize social media to engage patients and consumers. Through effective marketing and communication tactics, organizations are able to move away from traditional advertising techniques, and use the internet to connect with consumers in the healthcare field. Consumers heavily rely on information found online and use the internet to gather healthcare information and connect with other patients to garner support and learn about similar conditions. Others utilize these resources for research or to share experiences with healthcare providers and other related organizations. Patients also have a tendency to seek information via social media that assists in the selection of doctors, specialists and hospitals to make informed decisions on the best practices to seek care. Individuals will use social media to post reviews or other comments that support or possibly deter others from choosing that type of healthcare in the future. It is essential for providers to be active on social media and provide accurate information, connect with readers and implement marketing techniques where applicable.

Avoiding HIPAA Violations

The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by Congress in 1996 with the intent of providing patients more control over their healthcare records. HIPPA encompasses a variety of key points including:

  • Reducing healthcare fraud
  • Implementing industry-wide standards for information provided on electronic billing
  • Providing health insurance to individuals that are changing or have lost their jobs

In terms of protecting healthcare information, HIPPA sets guidelines that pertain to the protection and confidential handling of an individual’s health records. These guidelines have become somewhat of an issue in terms of social media. Healthcare professionals cannot directly address patients through these outlets as it violates the privacy and confidentiality regulations outlined by HIPPA. Other healthcare facilities are encouraged to implement strict policies and guidelines for what employees are allowed to post on social networking websites. Some ways to avoid HIPPA violations include:

  • Distribute clear social networking policies to employees
  • Avoid any discussion of patients, even in general terms
  • Speak generally about conditions and treatments
  • Prominently post your policies and procedures on all social media platforms
  • Do not practice medicine online by responding to patients offline

Utilizing Social Media

There is a variety of ways that healthcare managers are utilizing social media to enhance their services and provide patients with accurate medical information. Here are the top ways professionals in the field are using social media:

#1: Share Information

Social media is intended to provide individuals the ability to access information quickly and communicate with others. Healthcare organizations utilize these tools and websites to share information with consumers in a variety of ways such as sharing general information about flu shots and tips to avoid a cold. Sharing news regarding outbreaks or health hazards is an effective way for healthcare facilities to provide accurate information to patients. It is important to note that all patient specific information requires permission along with a signed release. Other forms of sharing information through social media include:

  • Provide updates on new technologies
  • Introduce new doctors in a practice on social networks
  • Answer questions on various topics (e.g. how to reach doctors or hours of operation)
  • Deliver generic pre- and post- operative care information
  • Offer patients any updates that relate to the practice itself

#2: Compare and Improve Quality

Another effective way that healthcare managers utilize social media is by spending time evaluating their competitors to get an insight into the services they offer and overall patient satisfaction. By taking a look into different practices and their social media involvement, professionals have the ability to mimic these methods to enhance their own. Some organizations will do better through social media; providers can determine whether or not they need to take more appropriate action to quickly respond to patient requests and improve customer service.

To gather feedback and improve quality, social media interaction can provide doctors and physicians with immediate responses from individuals to help understand common reactions to medications, as well as overall consensus from patients on new techniques in the industry. Using this information that is readily available on social media allows for healthcare organizations to learn from patient reactions and adjust accordingly. By following feedback on these sites, healthcare professionals also have the opportunity to evaluate the possibility of additional services in the industry.

#3: Train Medical Personnel

Some healthcare organizations have begun to utilize social media channels as part of their training process. During presentations, trainees are encouraged to use certain hash tags on Twitter or join other groups to engage one another to make training processes more enjoyable and interactive. These training techniques provide trainees a central location to ask questions and quickly receive answers. Social media gives participants the power to provide presenters with immediate feedback on training sessions.

Trainees are not the only people who benefit from this social media technique. Organizations can use training videos and pictures from training sessions to engage audiences and enhance their social media channels by marketing their facilities and exemplifying their innovating training processes.

#4: Live Updates during Procedures

Although somewhat controversial, there has been an increase of doctors and surgeons providing updates from the operating room. Through Twitter and other social media outlets, healthcare professionals have the ability to deliver up–to-date information during procedures to fellow doctors, medical students or simply curious individuals. Some say these updates are a distraction in the operating room, while others argue that it is an innovation and provides educational value that should be embraced.

The use of social media during operations also provides healthcare facilities the ability to gain attention from industry specific outlets as well as mainstream media. As a marketing approach, organizations create a buzz on social media with these updates, creating excitement and enhancing public awareness of an individual organization to attract patients and medical personnel.

#5: Communicate in Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, the use of social media has increased to provide minute-by-minute information to consumers. Through social media, hospitals and other organizations are able to deliver real-time updates on hospital capacity, operation status and emergency room access. Having an active social media presence allows healthcare professionals to pass along information shared by organizations such as the Red Cross, and the Centers for Disease Control or communicate with news outlets.

As social media continues to become a valuable asset to healthcare organizations and new methods of use are implemented, the industry requires administrators to set guidelines and procedures for effectively managing these channels. To provide the best customer service and accurate information while adhering to HIPAA regulations, organizations need individuals versed in the healthcare administration.


Learn more about Scranton’s Master of Healthcare Administration!