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Welcome to ConnextCare


Say hello to a more convenient way to stay healthy in Oswego County. Formerly known as NOCHSI, ConnextCare offers a comprehensive set of services — family and internal medicine, pediatrics, dentistry, psychiatry, social work — under one medical group. Patients within our network can now visit any of six locations at any time. And because we’re seamlessly connected, our staff can access your medical records at the touch of a button. It’s a faster, more convenient and easier way to keep yourself and your family healthy. Stop in to one of our multiple locations today and Say hello to healthy.



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Latest News


ConnextCare Receives NCQA Recognition for Distinction in Behavioral Health Integration Image
Friday, July 2, 2021

Pictured below (left to right): Suzy Miller, Information Services Manager, Sheri Guilds, Manager of Population Health, Melinda Casson, Quality Improvement Manager and Nancy Deavers, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing and Quality Officer

ConnextCare Receives NCQA Recognition for Distinction in Behavioral Health Integration

ConnextCare has recently been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for Distinction in Behavioral Health Integration. The NCQA is a private, non-profit organization that strives to improve the quality of health care. The NCQA Distinction in Behavioral Health Integration is awarded to NCQA-recognized Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) who excel in integrating behavioral health services into primary care settings.

Practices that earn NCQA’s Behavioral Health Integration Distinction have the appropriate resources and quality measures in place to care for the needs of patients with behavioral health disorders. This breaks down barriers to behavioral health care for patients and leads to improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.

“Our medical and behavioral health teams have worked together to develop processes that support coordination of care for our patients,” stated Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing and Quality Officer, Nancy Deavers. “We are pleased to have received this distinction which recognizes our staff’s dedication to improving our care delivery.”

ConnextCare is honored to receive this recognition and will be continuing its efforts in providing high-quality behavioral health services to the community.

 



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ConnextCare surpassed 11,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered to eligible community members! Image
Thursday, June 10, 2021

This week ConnextCare surpassed 11,000 COVID-19 vaccines administered to eligible community members! We are extremely grateful for the teamwork and dedication of our staff to make this possible. We would also like to give a huge "THANK YOU!" to the community members who have trusted ConnextCare to administer their COVID-19 vaccines. We are excited to celebrate this accomplishment and look forward to continuing these efforts! #ConnextCares



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ConnextCare soon-to-be CEO has deep roots in local healthcare industry Image
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

ConnextCare soon-to-be CEO has deep roots in local healthcare industry

By Ken Sturtz

 

Tricia Peter-Clark possesses a first-hand understanding of the importance of adequate rural health care. When she was a child attending school in Sandy Creek, both parents worked. So, her family often relied on the school-based health center there for easier access to care.

The health center, as well as her primary care doctor’s office in Pulaski, was operated by Northern Oswego County Health Services, the predecessor to ConnextCare.

Peter-Clark has been chosen by ConnextCare to serve as its next president and chief executive officer. The current chief executive officer, Daniel Dey, plans to retire in June.

When she takes the helm, Peter-Clark will be responsible for a patient-centered network of health care practices that has grown to provide services to tens of thousands of patients.

“For me to be in a leadership role now, to look back and say this was my medical home when I was a child and now I get an opportunity to be in charge of it, to run it, to provide leadership to it is honestly the most gratifying piece of it,” she said.

Peter-Clark has been drawn to leadership roles since her youth. While a student at D’Youville College in Buffalo she served as president of the student government. She also served as chairwoman of the athletic committee, coordinating activities and entertainment that took place during the sporting events. In both roles she had to monitor program budgets and interact with administrative staff.

“Being able to have the opportunity to be a part of the decision-making process, versus having to work through the decisions made by others, was always motivating to me,” she said.

Peter-Clark was pursuing a degree in physical therapy at D’Youville. She’d completed two and a half years, including most of the grueling science classes, when she decided she didn’t want to be a physical therapist. She realized she was more interested in the skills that go into running a medical practice. She changed course, instead earning a degree in health services with a concentration in health education and operations.

In 2004, she began working for Oswego County Opportunities as the coordinator of the cancer service programs in its health centers. That position allowed her to develop relationships with medical providers in practices across the county. Later she became coordinator of the Rural Health Network of Oswego County, focusing on collaboration between providers. One of the biggest projects was convincing providers to adopt electronic medical record keeping to share records more easily.

While she was at Oswego County Opportunities, Peter-Clark said an opportunity in operations opened up and her boss hired her for it. She was soon working as coordinator of health center operations, overseeing the organization’s primary care practices in Fulton and Oswego.

For about four years, Peter-Clark was part of an initiative to merge the practices of several organizations to preserve the primary care safety net in Oswego County. Although an issue nationwide, the lack of primary care providers in many rural communities is especially severe. And the practices maintained by Oswego County Opportunities in Fulton and Oswego were struggling financially due to reimbursement issues.

The solution was to bring the Fulton and Oswego practices — as well as three of Oswego Health’s practices in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix — under the umbrella of Northern Oswego County Health Services. The organization already operated the Pulaski Health Center as well as school-based health centers.

As part of the acquisition, Peter-Clark joined Northern Oswego County Health Services in 2013 to help run its operations. She’d already developed a good working relationship with CEO Dey. When she worked on the Rural Health Network of Oswego County he was the chairman the advisory board. And in her previous jobs, she had developed relationships with providers throughout the community.

Peter-Clark faced a daunting task when she started in 2013; she was stepping into more than simply a new position and a new work environment.

“Not only was it a new job, but it was bringing together all these disparate operations and cultures and trying to make them one,” Peter-Clark said. “And I can honestly tell you it took about five years to really get to the point where we had everything so succinct as a system it just runs seamlessly.”

Although on paper the organization’s hundreds of employees were part of a unified system, in many ways they were still three different organizations. For example, each one had handled billing differently, but the new organization had to be prepared to bill for services from day one. There was also the fact that three practices still kept paper records. Two other practices used an electronic records system, but it was different from the one used by the Pulaski Health Center. Peter-Clark said they had to take the three separate systems and combine them into one cohesive system that allowed medical records to be shared.

“So, there was a lot of coordination and work that went into building the foundation that we needed to really be successful as a system,” she said.

Now patients can go to any of the offices and staff can easily access their records. Processes have been standardized and streamlined. Although she admits bringing everything together was chaotic at first, Peter-Clark said things began to run more smoothly as the leadership team developed relationships with the staff in all the offices.

Building positive relationships is a key part of Peter-Clark’s leadership and management philosophy. That means effectively communicating your vision and encouraging others to be as excited about it as you are.

“My approach aims to build strong relationships with staff across all disciplines, demonstrating a high level of respect, trust and integrity, which yields a motivated, hardworking and committed workforce full of endless collaboration and growth,” she said.

In addition to the acquisition, Peter-Clark was part of the rebranding campaign in 2018 that led to the organization being named ConnextCare. That year she was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“Being able to have the opportunity to be a part of the decision-making process, versus having to work through the decisions made by others, was always motivating to me.”

Tricia Peter-Clark, who in June will become ConnextCare CEO.

More recently, she helped guide ConnextCare through the pandemic. Of its 13 sites across Oswego County, all remained open to patients except its school-based programs. Even its dental practices stayed open for emergency services. That required being flexible, Peter-Clark said.

ConnextCare began using a telemedicine system for the first time. Now as many as 30% of patient visits each week are done virtually. For in-person visits ConnextCare developed a kiosk system to keep waiting rooms from filling up. Patients who are sick call when they arrive and are escorted directly into the building to limit contact. Despite the challenges ConnextCare served nearly 32,000 patients in 2020 and logged more than 108,000 patient visits.

As Peter-Clark transitions to her new role as CEO, she said her focus will be on ensuring ConnextCare continues treating patients and remains fiscally stable through the pandemic.

ConnextCare is a federally qualified health center, meaning it receives federal funding to provide medical care in a medically underserved community. It provides care to any patient regardless of their ability to pay.

Peter-Clark said the organization has remained strong during the pandemic, although its dental practices have taken a hit financially.

Despite the challenges, Peter-Clark said she’s well prepared to run ConnextCare because Dey has taken care to mentor her throughout their years working together. The growth of the organization under Dey’s leadership has included adding new mental health and care management programs, she said. They’ve also scaled up the organization’s medical and senior leadership teams, which positioned ConnextCare well.

“One of the things that excites me the most is working with the leadership team we’ve developed over the last eight years,” Peter-Clark said. “I’m really proud of how we’ve grown as an organization.”


Lifelines

Birthdate: March 19, 1982.

Birth Place: Watertown.

Residence: Mexico.

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in health services with a concentration in health education and operations, D’Youville College; Master of Business Administration, St. Joseph’s College; board certified in health care management, American College of Healthcare Executives

Affiliations: Director, Central New York Care Collaborative; secretary, Operation Oswego County; director and secretary, Mexico Tiger Sharks; fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives; member, Oswego County Health Department Professional Advisory Committee; member, New York State Association for Rural Health.

Personal: Husband, Jason, married 15 years; two children, Ethan and Isabel.

HobbiesBaking, running with her German shepherd, exercise, being outdoors, watching her kids and their sports adventures, spending time with family.



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Meet the Chief Financial Officers Image
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

They are the money people — they handle vast sums of money every year and make sure their organizations are on solid financial footing. They deal with budgeting, accounting, audits, cost analysis, data analytics, monthly reporting, revenue cycles, third-party payer contracting with the health insurance companies and much more. And constant changes in state and federal regulations and reimbursement structure only make their jobs a bit more challenging.

Tracy Wimmer

ConnextCare CFO

Played role in unifying operational procedures of various health care centers serving tens of thousands of patients

By Ken Sturtz

When Tracy Wimmer reflects on her career in accounting, she doesn’t have to look far to find the reason for her career choice.

Her mother started as a bank teller in 1969 and retired 50 years later from JPMorgan Chase as a branch manager. Wimmer says she fondly remembers going to work with her mother as a child.

“She always used to bring me into the branch and I would go right to the computers and right to the adding machines and just loved playing with all the buttons and numbers,” she says. “So, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do pretty early in life.”

Many parts of her job as chief financial officer of ConnextCare are reasons finance appealed to her in the first place.

Wimmer likes pulling numbers apart and digging down into them. Financial statements are often rolled up and require peeling back multiple layers to get to the bottom of things and ensure they’re accurate. It’s something that has always come easy to Wimmer and that she enjoys working on.

“I like knowing what makes up each line and does it make sense and should it balance at the end,” she says. “And if it doesn’t balance, why doesn’t it balance?”

Wimmer, of Blossvale, grew up in Oswego County. She had jobs with Community Bank and PAR Government Systems before moving to the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area. During roughly eight years with the United Way, Wimmer was promoted to director of finance and administration.

She later worked in accounting for several food wholesalers before transitioning to a position as director of internal review and finance at Upstate Cerebral Palsy. She was hired as controller at ConnextCare in 2016 and promoted to chief financial officer in 2018.

Wimmer arrived at ConnextCare as the organization was continuing to regroup following a reorganization. In 2013, Northern Oswego County Health Services, the predecessor to ConnextCare, merged with two practices in Fulton and Oswego operated by Oswego County Opportunities as well as three of Oswego Health’s practices in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix. The organization already operated the Pulaski Health Center as well as school-based health centers in Oswego County.

Although the organization had grown to include six health care centers and was serving tens of thousands of patients, operations remained somewhat disjointed, Wimmer says. Each location tended to handle any number of processes their own way. Even patients often didn’t understand that all the offices were part of one unified health care system.

“They were kind of like their own little health centers operating by themselves more or less,” she says.

The situation improved in 2018 when the organization launched a rebranding campaign and changed its name to ConnextCare. The effort took hold and went a long way toward educating patients about the structure of the new organization, Wimmer says.

“From that point on we have done an exceptional job of molding processes and procedures and communication out to the patients,” she says. “When people see ConnextCare now they know we have six health care centers and they’re all one.”

Changes occurred behind the scenes as well to ensure ConnextCare was operating efficiently. Since the organization’s billing department is located in Pulaski it was important to make sure each location was following the same policies and procedures. It was also a matter of revising some of the processes. For example, at one point some offices were still faxing documents, Wimmer says. Now everyone follows a uniform process of scanning and emailing them.

Reforming ConnextCare’s processes wasn’t Wimmer’s only concern. She also became a part-time student, balancing work with going back to school to work on her master’s. Beginning in 2016 she completed two courses a semester. She received her master’s degree in health care leadership in December 2019.

“I’m a firm believer that you have to have education to advance in your career,” she says.

A few months after she completed her master’s, ConnextCare was rocked by the pandemic. The organization lost a third of its business at the onset because dental services shut down except for emergencies. Although they were able to get dental practices back up and running, the school-based centers also took a hit, Wimmer says. They still haven’t returned to their original volume.

All of that was concerning news for the person in charge of charting the organization’s finances.

The solution turned out to be telehealth. Before the pandemic ConnextCare had received a federal grant to purchase telehealth equipment. But the system hadn’t been rolled out for about a year due to reimbursement issues with insurance companies, Wimmer says.

When the pandemic suddenly made it very difficult to see patients in person, insurance companies reacted by loosening their previous restrictions on reimbursing for telehealth visits. With that, ConnextCare managed to roll out its telehealth system in just two weeks. All of the organization’s providers did well with the system, Wimmer says.

“I think that was kind of our saving grace,” she says. “We took a hit on volume, but we were still able to make up. We never had to let any staff go.”

Although the challenges brought by the pandemic have forced ConnextCare to adapt and made financial planning more uncertain, Wimmer says she still loves her job, the work being done to help people and the family-oriented atmosphere of the organization.

“I love knowing that the providers give back to the community every day,” she says. “It’s just a good feeling to come into work every day.”

Lifelines

Birthdate: Dec. 12, 1973

Birth Place: Syracuse  

Residence: Blossvale 

Education: Bachelor of Science in accounting, Empire State College; master’s in health care leadership, Empire State College.

Affiliations: Community Healthcare Association of New York State, Central New York Care Collaborative, Health Financial Management Association, Leadership Oswego County.

Personal: Husband, two adult children, 1-year-old grandchild.

Hobbies: Reading, cooking, baking, spending time with family. 

 

Above is an excerpt from the full article located here:  http://www.oswegocountybusiness.com/feature-stories/healthcare/meet-the-chief-executive-officers/



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Electronic Patient Satisfaction Surveys Image
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

ConnextCare is now sending Patient Satisfaction Surveys electronically!

We value patient feedback and this new process will help us provide quality care and recognize opportunities for improvement in the future. Following your next appointment, you may receive a text message or email with a link to the survey. Please click the link and complete the questions! As always, we appreciate the support of our patients! #ConnextCares



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Tricia Peter-Clark to Succeed Dan Dey at ConnextCare Image
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Chairman Michael C. Backus, on behalf of the Board of Directors of ConnextCare is pleased to announce the promotion of Tricia Peter-Clark as ConnextCares next President/Chief Executive Officer effective June 4, 2021.

Peter-Clark currently is the health centers Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining ConnextCare in 2013, Peter-Clark was the Coordinator of the Rural Health Network of Oswego County and Director of Health Operations, both under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities (OCO). She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Services from DYouville College in Buffalo, New York and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Leadership from St. Josephs College of Maine. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Peter-Clark stated, I am very grateful for the ConnextCare Boards confidence in me. I look forward to continuing to build on the impressive legacy that was established by Dan Dey and excited about the many strategic opportunities ahead.”

According to Dey, ConnextCare will undoubtedly continue its success under the very capable leadership of Tricia. Her accomplishments have been innumerable and remarkable since joining ConnextCare when it acquired several primary care practices from OCO and Oswego Health (OH) in 2013. She has been singularly instrumental in building a cohesive and positive culture among the initially diverse programs, and effecting a very successful re-branding from Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. to the symbolic ConnextCare. Among her many notable successes, she has been pivotal to guiding ConnextCare through the challenging COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Backus offered that, under Deys leadership ConnextCare has experienced exponential growth and financial stability. In Deys thirteen years, ConnextCares budget has quintupled and its employed staff tripled, considerably adding to the economic vitality of Oswego County. ConnextCare has added significantly to the quality and depth of its medical, dental, behavioral health and school-based health center programs, while introducing vital care management, psychiatry and substance use disorder services. Additionally, Dey has brought in millions of dollars into the Oswego and Central New York communities through the initiation and leadership of several community collaborative efforts, including the Preserving the Oswego County Primary Care Safety Net Initiative, Oswego County Integrated Delivery Network, and the Upstate Community Health Collaborative Independent Provider Association.”

Dey said, Its been an extreme honor to have served under such a dedicated and engaged community Board of Directors and with an incredibly compassionate and talented staff. Their contributions to the health and well-being of the community have been enriching and immeasurable. As I move into semi-retirement, I am particularly gratified that ConnextCare has had an influence in preparing two dynamic, talented, and young individuals for leadership of the two largest health care providers in Oswego County in Peter-Clark and Backus, who was recently named as Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of OH.”

Established in 1969, ConnextCare is a patient-centered network of health care practices providing Oswego and surrounding county residents with a variety of comprehensive health care and related services. The center is operated by a private, partially federally funded non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

ConnextCare operates health centers in Fulton, Mexico, Oswego, Parish, Phoenix, and Pulaski. It also operates seven school-based health centers located in APW, Mexico, Pulaski, Fulton and Sandy Creek School Districts. ConnextCare is accredited through the Joint Commission and is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medial Home. ConnextCare will see any patient regardless of their ability pay for the care they need. All major insurances are accepted, and a sliding fee scale discount program is available for eligible patients. For additional information on the services provided through ConnextCare visit www.connextcare.org or call (315) 298-6564 .



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