As clinic administrator at CoxHealth Medical Care Center, Rhonda Robinson is a participant in a team approach to improve patients’ lives.
“I wanted to work in an environment where everyone had the same values and compassion to help others,” she says. “Our staff strives to offer patients something … that makes them want to come here.”
A graduate of Missouri State University with a bachelor’s in administrative management, Robinson has worked in her current role since 1999. Among myriad tasks, she is charged with making sure clinic operations align with family medicine residency guidelines, managing a $7.6 million budget and monitoring expenses.
The clinic is a teaching ground for new medical school graduates who seek board certifications in family medicine, and it is a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home.
“We show the doctors a different way to deal with patients,” she says. “From early on in their career, the concepts of a patient centered medical system are ingrained into them. It’s exciting we get to be a part of that education.”
As a medical home, the clinic works to provide comprehensive care that addresses all of its patients’ health needs. Serving as a PCMH requires plenty of trial and error to see what works best, and Robinson and the clinic team have implemented some unusual ideas.
“We put patients and employees on our committees, because if it’s about the patient, you have to include the patient to understand what their exact needs are,” she says. “You can’t be patient-centered without the input of patients.”
Robinson is committed to changing the culture of health care, even though it requires taking some risks.
“If you won’t take risks, there’s not going to be the change you want to see,” she says. “The risks force us to experience what will and won’t work.”
She works with the Access to Care advisory committee, which works to improve access to care for patients who struggle to find care in a traditional setting.
In addition, she helped initiate the grant-funded Community Medication Assistance Program to help patients who don’t have insurance or money for prescriptions get the medicine they need.
The program connects CoxHealth, St. John’s and other local providers, encouraging them to work together to improve care.
“It shows the patient we’re not just Cox or St. John’s, we’re a community,” Robinson says. “This program is patient-centeredness in a more community-driven sense. We’re looking to be innovators.”Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Salute to Health Care.