A One Stop Shop

A One Stop Shop
Cassie Shields, Clinical Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, hosts a diabetes education course, one of the many resources offered for patients with diabetes.

We live in the age of convenience. Twenty years ago, you went to the Pet Food Store to get dog food. When you needed hair spray, you went to the beauty store. Fast forward to today, and you likely get these items and many more at one store. This consolidation has made the shopping experience much more convenient and efficient. A similar form of convenience has now reached healthcare in Salina.

Salina Family Healthcare Center (SFHC) is unique not only in Salina but across the state. Combining primary care, dentistry, pharmacy, behavioral health, optometry, and even a medical residency program, SFHC is to healthcare what Target is for shopping.

Salina Family Healthcare Center's origins date back to 1979. Then, Dr. Robert Brown founded Salina Health Education Foundation, Inc. (SHEF), a non-profit corporate sponsor for the rural-focused family medicine residency program known as Smoky Hill Family Medicine Residency Program (SHFMRP).

More than a decade later, in 1991, another organization known as Salina Cares was founded as a volunteer-led clinic to serve low-income or uninsured people in Salina.

In 1998 the relationship between Salina Cares and SHFMRP began, as SHFMRP started providing resident physicians to staff Salina Cares. Six years later, Salina Cares merged with SHEF/SHFMRP to create Salina Family Healthcare Center (SFHC).

Since then, the progression has been dramatic. In 2005, SFHC added a dental clinic. In 2012, Behavioral Health services were added. In 2013, the clinic added a pharmacy, in 2021 an Outreach Department, and this year they began offering optometry services.

On top of the breadth of services, Salina Family Healthcare Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), the only such facility in Saline County. FQHCs are healthcare centers that provide services regardless of the patient's ability to pay. The closest comparable FQHCs are in Hays and Junction City. Hayley Samford, Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator for Salina Family Healthcare Center, said, "For any FQHC, the sheer number of services we offer in Saline County is unique."

The FQHC status also enabled another program that has helped patients in Salina save money on their prescriptions. A statute known as 340B, enacted in 1992, requires drug manufacturers to offer discounts to FQHCs and other medical facilities that care for a large percentage of patients needing financial assistance. In the fiscal year 2022, SFHC served 937 patients via the 340B program, saving those patients an estimated $2.7 million on the price of their medication.

While the impact of the FQHC status has been tremendous, Salina Family Healthcare Center battles the misconception that they only serve those without health insurance. "Many people think you can only come here if you're uninsured, which is not the case. You can come here at any age, race, gender, or socio-economic status; we provide the highest quality of integrated care to everybody.", said Samford.

The bustling organization now employs 27 medical providers, 4 dentists, 5 pharmacists, and 3 behaviorists, with over 145 employees.

Derek Pihl, Executive Director of Pharmacy Services, added, "We feel like our model of care is superior to any place you would go to. Anybody would benefit from coming to Salina Family to have a one-stop shop integrated care team. From the pharmacist, dentists, and behavioral health all working together for that one patient is pretty powerful."

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