HELPING THE HOMELESS
Maui’s homeless resource center, Ka Hale A Ke Ola, has really been feeling the love lately from the community. It started in June, when Steve Blinder and the staff of Maui Fire and Flood decided to make dinner for 75 folks at the shelter. Then more recently the community came together to build an edible and native garden at the shelter’s five-acre Wailuku property. It was a project organized by Community Work Day in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control’s “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” initiative.
As far as the dinner was concerned, the crew of Maui Fire and Flood (the water and fire damage restoration company also operates a retail store called Cleaner’s Warehouse) made a nice spread of baked chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, rice, salad, dinner rolls, fresh fruit and an assortment of cakes. The KP team consisted of Steve and Michelle Blinder, David Heard, Nick Soto, Kevin and Anthony Fiori, Nalani Cagasan and Kathi Pierceall.
“We were asked to feed 50 people and nearly 75 showed up,” said David Heard, Director of Marketing for Maui Fire and Flood. “It was awesome! The second to last person on line got the last scoop of rice and the last person on line didn’t want rice. It was a chance for our staff to get together outside of work. It was a great time and we encourage other businesses to do it, too.”
Since Ka Hale A Ke Ola services over 75,077 meals annually for Maui, building an edible garden seemed like a no-brainer for the center. Community Work Day, along with the County of Maui Water Department, the Maui School Garden Network and more than 60 volunteers showed up, worked tirelessly on Friday to lay the foundation, irrigation, fencing and plant 200 natives and 40 fruit trees. Maluhia Trucking donated many hours of trucking and backhoe work to the site. EKO Compost was also a major contributor of compost. Vince Mina from Maui BioChar donated locally sourced soil amendments, IMOs and Biochar. Alex Beers (owner of From the Heart Garden Service) also donated compost which made fruit tree planting possible. And Mini-mix Hawaii, Valley Isle Fencing, Voluntourism and Holon helped out as well. Whole Foods Market came through and fed volunteers during the day with healthy snacks and locally grown fruit.
“You wouldn’t believe it but our biggest hurdle is getting soil donated,” said Matt Lane of Community Work Day. “We did some great work at Ka Hale A Ke Ola but that is just the beginning. There will be lots more volunteer and donation opportunities for the Maui community to participate in.”
The resource center’s vision for the garden is not only to grow food that can feed the residents of Ka Hale A Ke Ola but also to teach new skills to the residents that could open doors to new job opportunities. They also plan to green the courtyard where they hold Christmas parties as well as the area around the children’s center.
Kaiser Permanente scored a perfect 100 out of 100 for both Lahaina and Kihei clinics in their National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Physician Practice ConnectionsTM (PPC) Patient-Centered Medical HomeTM (PCMH) Recognition at Level 3, the highest level of recognition, which must have mad Dr. George Talbot, Kaiser’s Physician in Charge on Maui, very happy. The NCQA recognition program identifies clinics delivering superior care using standards that show measured medical evidence of access and communication, patient tracking, test tracking, reporting, care management, patient self management, electronic prescribing and advance electronic communications among other things.
“The concept of PCMH is very familiar to Kaiser Permanente,” said Laura Lott, Kaiser Permanente spokesperson. “We’ve used the integrated care model for more than 50 years. The model encourages measurable quality and prevention by focusing on outcomes rather than volume. Research shows that integrated care is capable of improving clinical outcomes, expanding access to care outside of the usual office setting, improving patient and staff satisfaction and reducing health care costs. Our first clinic was certified in November 2010.”
PCMH is a health care delivery model focused on improving the patient’s health and well-being by strengthening the physician-patient relationship and by placing the patient’s needs at the center of every care decision. The model is led by the personal primary care provider but also enlists the skills and knowledge of a team of health care professionals from nurses and nutritionists to specialists and pharmacists.
The delivery of care is facilitated by information technology, electronic health records and system best practices to assure that patients receive care when and where they need it, in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. It’s a model in which patients don’t have to repeat their story to every new provider but still receive reminders when they need screenings and immunizations, and are known and cared for by a team of skilled medical professionals. One small note: the word “Home” in the title does not refer to actual home care, but here refers to a base of care for the patient; all care is still given at the clinic.
“If you can eliminate errors and keep people healthier it saves the entire system money,” Lott said. But there is no information as to whether plan rates will increase or drop in 2012.