The Oasis Health Network, Inc of Brunswick, Maine got some much-needed assistance recently when New England Medical Transcription (NEMT) volunteered to provide free documentation for doctors.
Oasis Health Network, Inc is a free health clinic that serves the greater Brunswick area, providing healthcare to the uninsured residents of the Bath, Brunswick, Harpswell, Freeport area.
NEMT is a Woolwich-based medical transcription company that transcribes doctors' voice recordings into patient records.
Denise Mungen-Kerina, business manager at Oasis Health Network, said the free transcription saves doctors hours each day. “NEMT has made four providers very, very happy,” she said. “Nothing that we have here is modern—they were writing all the patient notes on paper. Being able to dictate rather than take an hour-and-a-half or two hours to write it all down has been a huge benefit.”
Four doctors are currently dictating to NEMT as part of the pilot project. All told, the network has 35 doctors who will eventually be added into the transcription system. “NEMT has been outstanding,” Mungen-Kerina said. “When Linda Sullivan approached us and said she wanted to help us, we knew that kind of comprehensive record-keeping would be a big key to our overall care plan.”
Oasis Health Network, Inc got its start more than a decade ago at the homeless shelter in Brunswick. At the time, shelter residents were being taken to the emergency department (ED) regularly for care, so administrators decided to put volunteer doctors on call to evaluate sick residents to see if they needed an ED, or just ongoing healthcare.
In 1995 Oasis began operating a Tuesday night clinic providing support to locals who weren't homeless, but who were uninsured. In 2004, Mid Coast Hospital offered the organization a permanent facility for Tuesday-night free health clinics. Once a week just wasn't enough though,” Mungen-Kerina said. “We found the illnesses were great. It wasn't just someone coming in with bronchitis; they were coming in with diabetes and other chronic diseases.” So they began providing specialties clinics, such as diabetes, mental health, and high blood pressure clinics.
Now, the network is providing primary-care model, and that's where NEMT comes in. Patients at the volunteer clinic are being assigned to primary care physicians. Each time the patient comes, he or she will see the same doctor, allowing them to establish a relationship and know that a single physician is overseeing their overall health. Part of the primary care model, however, is record-keeping and documentation. In order for a doctor to effectively manage a patient's overall health and particularly, chronic conditions, the doctor needs clear and consistent records of the patient's symptoms, medications, and clinic visits.
NEMT is providing those records, free of charge. “We are members of this community too and we care a lot about the people here,” said Linda Sullivan, CEO of NEMT. “We want to be good neighbors and good corporate citizens, but beyond that, we truly feel it is imperative for all members of the healthcare community to do their part to ensure that every person has healthcare.”
Two transcriptionists have been assigned to the Oasis clinic account at start-up and more will be added as additional doctors begin using the dictation system. The account is managed at NEMT by Bath resident Samantha Funston. “We run a lot of accounts all over the country,” said Funston, “but this is the one that brings us the most joy. Every single report we type, we know we're helping the people in our own backyard and that just feels good every day. Oasis is providing care to hard-working people with jobs and homes. These are people who are working every day but who just don't have health insurance.”
In addition to NEMT, the Oasis Health Network is being supported by many volunteers all over the Mid Coast Area; as well as donated space by Mid Coast Hospital, which also provides numerous other services to keep the clinics up and running.
Source: New England Medical Transcription