Dr. Peter Hollmann, Chief Medical Officer at Brown Medicine, serves as our current CTC-RI Board President. Dr. Hollmann weighs-in on the work of CTC-RI in 2021.
As board president, what was the biggest success of 2021 for CTC-RI?
2020 threw us a curveball and CTC-RI stepped up and helped practices with obtaining funding, implementing telehealth, and getting immunizations back on track. By the time we hit 2021, the waters had calmed somewhat and we were able to continue with core activities of getting behavioral health integrated into primary care, developing more pediatric practices into patient centered medical homes, and building upon the successes of the community health teams. CTC-RI also began drafting a plan for the next three years and transitioned from our founding President Tom Bledsoe, MD who deserves credit for these achievements, to his understudy.
What was a challenge for CTC-RI this year, and how have we addressed it and learned from it?
The biggest challenge for everyone is fatigue with all the stressors of 2020 to now. We addressed it by being a forum for collecting and hearing concerns and solutions. Staffing has been very difficult, and with the help of Rick Brooks, Executive Director, RI Governor's Workforce Board, EOHHS, we are looking at how systems of care and practices can partner with medical assistant training programs and provide primary care training placement sites. We are also looking for ways we can partner with our colleges to provide training sites for clinicians who want to provide integrated behavioral health services in primary care. We are seeking potential funding opportunities so we can provide stipends for students and practices that provide the supervision and training.
In addition, we learned that monthly payments for primary care can help practices weather storms more effectively, and we have brought in experts from other regions that are paid for primary care by managing populations and learned how they adjusted their practices to improve patient care, while not being bound by a fee-for-service revenue system. We learned that we can only ask so much of practices, but we need to continue to inform and foster a sense of optimism. We did this in part by showcasing the amazing work done by our primary care practices in creating better equity, better access, and better care.
What goal(s) does CTC-RI have for 2022 to support and advance primary care in Rhode Island?
We want to continue to assist practices in developing capacity and processes that help them care for populations, not just the person in the office that day. We want to work to have integrated behavioral health be something that can be taken for granted as existing in primary care. We want to sustain and build upon community programs that address the most complex patients and help those who are challenged by social disadvantage to use their strengths together with community resources to attain optimal health for themselves and their families.