January 3rd, 2019
By Dr. Jeff Cashman
Spartanburg is not unique in having complex challenges to face as a community. What does separate Spartanburg from many communities is the way we acknowledge those challenges and come together to tackle them. From the Northside Initiative, Partners for Active Living and the Road to Better Health, partnerships that drive innovative, collective action is in our DNA.
While there are dozens of opportunities that are making a difference here, as a physician who cares deeply about community health I have chosen to invest time and resources in AccessHealth Spartanburg.
I have treated AccessHealth Spartanburg clients for 5 years. I believe in the organization’s mission and have seen first-hand the impact it makes. Many times, well-meaning social service organizations do a good job of improving or ameliorating symptoms but are unable to solve the underlying issue. Most of the time, the problematic symptoms return, and the cycle continues.
AccessHealth Spartanburg is different. The team at AHS works to help people address the root causes of health outcomes. One important step is ensuring low-income, uninsured adults have access to a physician’s care. However, AHS knows there needs to be more than just sending sick people to my office and expecting us to “make them better,” AccessHealth Spartanburg is a true partner. When AHS refers someone to my practice, I feel comfortable knowing I will be part of a team approach that is focused not only on the symptoms of poor health but also on addressing the social determinants of health. AccessHealth Spartanburg also works with a network of physicians in the community to help with access to other physicians for specialty care if needed.
As a result, I know that AHS clients are going to be supported in between visits to my office. This results in consistent follow-through and far better outcomes. It is an organization that has been shown to work and that is why AccessHealth Spartanburg is supported by The Duke Endowment and its approach to complex care navigation has been recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Center for Health Care Strategies as a national model. The recognition is well-deserved.
Accepting a certain number of AccessHealth Spartanburg patients into your practice allows you to help the underserved population in the community while you complete your daily activities, during your current office hours. I often hear the challenges of volunteering at night, or outside of office hours. This allows access to clients during your already scheduled clinic day.
I believe if you are a physician who wants to have a deep impact on improving community health, volunteering your time with and providing your expertise to AccessHealth Spartanburg is one of the very best things you can do. I encourage you to join the hundreds of us who are already doing so and help us tackle one of our community’s biggest challenges while building a healthier and ultimately more prosperous Spartanburg.
Jeff Cashman is a family doctor and Associate Dean for OMS 4th Year and Graduate Medical Education at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg. Cashman was the first Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine elected president of the Spartanburg County Medical Society.