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Lahai Model Shows Benefits of Care Coordination

Navigating healthcare can be overwhelming for a patient who must manage appointments with their primary care provider, specialists, and case manager. With a patient focus, the concept of care coordination has emerged as a pivotal strategy in providing quality care. Care coordination establishes a collaborative care team of healthcare providers supporting a patient. Through regular communication and coordination meetings, the care team can align strategies, set goals, monitor progress, and adjust interventions as needed, ensuring continuity and coherence in the delivery of care across different settings, locations and transitions of care.   

Lahai Health, a Verdant funded partner, exemplifies how this powerful concept works in the lives of actual patients – and the outcomes are highly encouraging. Lahai Health has been serving low-income uninsured adults since 2003, providing patients and clients with primary medical care and mental health counseling services at no cost, and dental care at significantly reduced prices. Lahai Health relies on a small staff of seven full-time and sixteen part-time employees, and their capacity is amplified by an active group of over 350 volunteers. Lahai opened their Lynnwood site in 2016 and now has two medical clinic sites and a dental site within the Verdant service area. In 2023 their two Lynnwood mobile sites saw 428 unduplicated medical patients for 1,002 appointments. They saw 367 dental patients for 1,395 patient visits, and counselors saw 85 clients, for a total of 2,149 hours of service. 

By identifying patient needs, developing plans of care, and diligently monitoring progress, the Lahai staff and volunteers offer care that is truly holistic, and patient centered.  The volunteer providers, directed by staff Nurse Case Managers, organize patient care activities, and create systems to share information with other providers involved with a patient’s care. Lahai personnel value the interconnectedness of health care, dental health and mental health. In all three areas, the Lahai model allows staff and volunteers to take the time to get to know their patients and build trusting relationships. Every appointment generates the opportunity to refer patients to other providers and resources as needed to address medical and other issues.  They help patients navigate systems and get connected to the care that they need. 

By addressing both the medical and social needs of patient, in a coordinated manner, care coordination promotes a more holistic and comprehensive approach to healthcare delivery, ultimately improving the overall well-being and quality of life for individuals and communities by ensuring that patients have transportation, housing and other supportive services that support their treatment plan.