Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
15:29 PM

Changes to LVH–17th Street Clinics Will Enhance Care for Patients

On July 1, 2020, eight community clinics at LVH-17th Street will transition to a new organization called Valley Health Partners Community Health Center (VHP).

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is launching an independent organization that will enhance services at eight of the key community clinics primarily located on the Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–17th Street campus to increase accessibility to care for the underserved and vulnerable populations, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. As of July 1, 2020, the following eight clinics will transition to the new organization called Valley Health Partners Community Health Center (VHP).

  1. VHP Centro de Salud – Primary care practice dedicated to advancing the health and well-being of the Hispanic community with common health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

  2. VHP Children’s Clinic – Care for children who are well, sick or have special needs including behavioral health, ADHD, asthma, obesity and more.

  3. VHP Children’s Clinic at Sheridan – An extension of the Children’s Clinic, provides primary and specialty care for all Children’s Clinic patients in the Allentown School District from kindergarten through high school.

  4. VHP Center for Women’s Medicine – Comprehensive health care for women and adolescent girls, including specialists who help with high-risk pregnancies, depression and more.

  5. VHP Lehigh Valley Family Health Center – Community-based family medicine with an emphasis on improving and maintaining health for patients who are well, as well as those with chronic diseases.

  6. VHP Lehigh Valley Physicians Practice Primary Care – High-quality, accessible, cost-effective primary health care for the Lehigh Valley’s diverse community.

  7. VHP Mark J. Young Community Health and Wellness Center Helping people learn how to take care of themselves, which is especially important for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and obesity. Prediabetes and diabetes classes, as well as nutritional services, are offered.

  8. VHP Street Medicine – Primary and urgent care for homeless people in the Lehigh Valley wherever they may live – in shelters, soup kitchens, under bridges or in the woods.

This transition will allow VHP to apply and become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike by spring next year (2021). An FQHC Look-Alike receives enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, which allows our clinics to offer whole-person care and creates opportunities to look beyond medical care, focusing on social determinants of health and other underlying causes of poor health. 

The federal reimbursement permits the expansion of core services such as comprehensive primary care, dental and mental health/substance abuse in addition to enabling services that includes interpretation, transportation to appointments, and health education. VHP will offer a Sliding Fee Discount that removes any financial barriers to receiving care.

VHP will take every step possible to provide safe care at every clinic. Same-day appointments, virtually or in person, will be available and measures will be in place to protect every patient.

Patients will have access to an online patient portal for all clinic and outpatient services, and it will allow users to review medical record information, request prescription refills, schedule appointments and take care of billing matters. Patients also can schedule a VHP Video Visit, an online consultation with a caregiver, which is available every day, 24 hours a day.

“About a year ago, LVPG hired an external consulting firm to evaluate our current health care delivery structure and provide recommendations on how to better address the needs of our patients, colleagues, residents and fellows, and health network,” said Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP. “The intent of this transition is to preserve and expand the valuable assets we have built including staff and provider retention and access for our patients. Achieving FQHC Look-Alike status will bring recognition to the accomplishments of our health care delivery model, and as a result, increase our ability to meet the health care needs of the most vulnerable individuals.”

Nester said the FQHC Look-Alike will be a new nonprofit organization with its own board of directors and leadership. He said the focus will be to ensure close alignment and collaboration with LVHN and LVPG.

Nester said staff, management and providers are the most important pieces to the success of the clinics, and the primary goal is to preserve the current employment structure.

In early 2021, LVHN and LVPG will submit an application to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for consideration in becoming an FQHC Look-Alike. Nester anticipates a review to be completed in 3-6 months. He said staff and patients will be informed throughout the process.

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses, three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; Coordinated Health, which includes two hospital campuses, nearly two dozen multispecialty locations including ambulatory surgery centers and orthopedic injury centers in northeastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey; 26 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 20 ExpressCARE locations including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation, and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care for adults and children, burn care at the Regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and robotic surgery in 10 specialties. Lehigh Valley Cancer InstituteLehigh Valley Heart Institute, and Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence physicians provide the most advanced treatments. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, an initiative that helps community providers improve the quality of cancer care and offers access to MSK clinical trials. Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, the community’s only children’s hospital, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest is the region’s only hospital nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for orthopedics and has been recognized among Pennsylvania’s top five hospitals for six consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are the region’s only Magnet® hospitals for nursing excellence. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.