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10 years of providing local health care

The clinic has grown from serving 600 patients per year, to 50,000 patients annually

by: RON HALVORSON/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Mosaic CEO Megan Haase speaks as Treasurer for Mosaic’s board of directors Scott Cooper (left) looks on.

Tuesday evening saw a gathering of employees, health care professionals, and local dignitaries, as Mosaic Medical celebrated 10 years serving Prineville and Crook County. The nearly 75 attendees were treated to wine, hors d’oeuvres, and cake, while staff gave comprehensive tours of the facility, from its offices and meeting rooms to the laboratory and “procedure” room.
   Some of those associated with the clinic gave short speeches to add perspective to the last decade.
   Scott Cooper, who serves as treasurer on Mosaic’s board of directors, said Mosaic is a leader among Federally Qualified Health Centers, is recognized across the nation for its leadership in health care reform, and has a collaborative relationship with Central Oregon’s St. Charles Health System. He also stated that as of last month, 36 percent of Mosaic’s patients had no health insurance or other financial assistance.
   “If we weren’t there,” he said, “I don’t know what they would have had to do. We are changing lives.”
   Megan Haase, Mosaic’s CEO, said she was “very excited” with the turnout.
   “It represents the wonderful support we have from the community,” she said, “and it’s a tie-in to celebrate the 10 years and the growth.”
   Mosaic Medical has reason to celebrate.
   First known as Ochoco Community Clinic, it opened for business in the small building near Price Slasher, in the office formerly occupied by physician Dr. Evan Jones. It boasted 12 employees, and that first year — 2002 — served 600 patients.
   “It was great, and we all thought Ochoco Community Clinic was just this cool little thing,” recalled Cooper.
   Cooper has been involved with the non-profit from its infancy. He said that once expansion took place — clinics were opened in Bend and Madras in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and the Prineville clinic moved to a larger facility in 2006 — the name was changed to Ochoco Health Systems to reflect its regional presence.
   Two years later it became Mosaic Medical. The name “Ochoco” was a little constrained, said Cooper, given their ambitions to serve the entire region.
   “It was also that we wanted to have a name to encompass it all,” said Haase, “because each clinic had a different name and people couldn’t associate that we were the same organization.”
   “And then we took off,” Cooper said of 2010. “(Now) we’re just in the process of opening the Redmond expansion, plus we’re looking at opening two more clinics to handle capacity in Bend. Somewhere along the way we added school-based health centers in Redmond and in Prineville. We’ve gotten to be quite large. And instead of serving 600 people, last year (region wide) we had 50,000 patient visits. That’s quite a big step.”
   The name Mosaic also reflects the diversity of the populations served, according to Haase.
   “The most essential thing in the Mosaic story,” she explained, “is that we’re not here to serve (just) low income people, we’re a safety net clinic that serves everybody.”
   In addition to those who have no financial resources, “everybody,” according to Haase, includes those who pay out of pocket on a sliding scale (about one-third of the patients), those on Medicaid (one-third), Medicare patients (10 percent), and those with private insurance (10 percent).
   “Between those four segments we manage to keep the doors open.”
   “Before Mosaic,” added Cooper, “we didn’t have a safety net that made sure you got care if you were not able to afford it. Mosaic mended the hole in the safety net.”
   It’s that safety net concept that led Bill Winnenberg, Chief Information Officer of St. Charles Health Systems, to join Mosaic’s board of directors. He currently serves as chairman.
   “The reason I wanted to get involved with Mosaic, is that they do fill that gap around access that’s so critical in our society right now,” Winnenberg said. “Providing access to all people who need health care is still a key gap that we have and it drives costs up, actually, if we don’t provide that access.”
   It’s not just access to primary care, according to Cooper. It’s also critical that patients have access to a wide range of other specialists throughout Central Oregon. To provide such, Mosaic Medical has cultivated a bevy of partnerships with other providers.
   “That whole partnership philosophy underpins everything we do,” said Cooper, “because we don’t have every specialty in Central Oregon under our roof. So we have amazing partnerships with specialty clinics, and St. Charles, the counties, the public health departments, the pharmacies — all kinds of people who are helping us to expand services beyond just what we’re able to do within the four walls of this clinic. All of those partners donate a substantial amount of their services to make sure everybody gets care.”
   Linda Hatch is a family nurse practitioner who has been with Mosaic Medical since its inception. Another important aspect of Mosaic, she said, is that it focuses on “whole-person” health. Not only are a patient’s immediate medical needs met, but if there are other issues affecting their health, such as housing needs, dietary requirements, or even family concerns, Mosaic Medical, or one of its partners, is there to help. Its use of “RN care coordinators” further strives to insure that nothing falls through the cracks.
   “After we see a patient, for example that has diabetes — a new diagnosis — we want to make sure they get linked into how to check their blood sugar, their diet, exercise program,” Hatch explained. “She (RN care coordinator) does outreach phone calls to them. ‘How are you doing?’ She’s had them come in and then she spends time with them going over diet and stuff. By having that for follow up, the idea is that we’re trying to keep them healthier.”
   According to Hatch, the staff at Mosaic will go the extra mile to make sure people have the resources they need. For example, if someone has literacy problems and who maybe has difficulty learning how to follow their medical directives, they will be given one-on-one help. Community health care workers are available to go to a patient’s home and see why they haven’t come in, and even to help them with paperwork, or to find financial resources for their health care.
   “That’s the thing that I like about this clinic so much,” she said, “because I found that in private practice, I was doing that myself almost, trying to do it, and I just could not keep doing it all, looking for the resources for them. Now we have this whole team that can do it. It’s just so nice.”
   One result of Mosaic’s whole-person health philosophy, Hatch said, is that patients have a close relationship with not only their primary care provider, but also with an entire team of people.
   “It’s an experience where the care is really shared across that section of people who work here,” she said. “What I hear when people either tour the clinic, or are a patient at the clinic, they feel that sense of care and mission.”
   Hatch’s enthusiasm is shared by Sharon Vail, the executive director of Rimrock Health Alliance. As one of Mosaic’s many partners, Rimrock is tasked with increasing access to, and strengthening the health resources in Crook County. It also actively recruits for new medical providers.
   “Mosaic Medical has been a huge, important part of providing medical services to the residents of Crook County,” Vail said. “They have filled a gap, and continue to fill a gap, that increases access to primary care resources.
   “Prineville is a unique community,” she continued, “in that the medical community all works together very well. There’s a lot of collaboration, there’s a lot of communication. Mosaic has been fantastic in becoming part of our community-based recruiting model here in Crook County.”
   “To see the organization grow and meet its mission the way that it is,” said Winnenberg, “has been a real privilege for me. Mosaic’s just an outstanding organization. It’s hard to imagine what our communities did before Mosaic was here. They fill such an important role in health care in our region.”