Dr. Kenyatta Lee: Making a difference in the community he serves | Health

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Dr. Kenyatta Lee: Making a difference in the community he serves
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Dr. Kenyatta Lee: Making a difference in the community he serves

 

UF physician leading the charge in disease management for urban core with new ‘gold’ standard of family practice

Dr. Kenyatta Lee, Medical Director of the Shands Jacksonville Community Affairs Department and Assistant Medical Director of the UF Commonwealth Family Medicine and Pediatric Center and UF Soutel Family Practice and Pediatric Center, is making a difference in the community he serves. Charged with oversight of the disease management programs via registry programs, Dr. Lee is actively involved in enhancing the quality of care for the Commonwealth practice  and the clinics operated by the Community Affairs Department.

“The idea is that improving primary care improves access and outcomes,” he said. “Shands Jacksonville has really been on the forefront of this movement. The focus is on disease management and eliminating disparities and that’s been my focus, too. First identified by the late Elizabeth Means, former Vice President of Community Affairs,  and Dr. Eric Stewart, Medical Director for the UF Commonwealth Family Medicine and Pediatric Center, it seems that it [disease management] is not insurmountable with systems in place like disease management registries.”

With the advance team of Ms. Means and Dr. Stewart, Dr. Lee was positioned as the key person to transform the practice to a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) when he joined the University of Florida College of Medicine–Jacksonville and Shands Jacksonville Medical Center seven years ago. PCMH is the new ‘gold’ standard in healthcare that provides accessible, continuous, coordinated and comprehensive patient-centered care managed by the family physician and the medical team.

The appeal for all providers is improved approaches to chronic care, consumerism and new healthcare-related information and communication technology. The model, advocated by the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, shows growing evidence in primary care’s value assuring higher quality at lower cost with more equity.

“I worked with Ms. Means during my research trimester in Jacksonville, looking at factors responsible for the infant mortality rate in the city’s urban core. That’s when I fell in love with Jacksonville. It’s beautiful here and a great place to live. The quality of life is just tremendous,” he said.

After completing his undergraduate medical training at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, MN, he did his residency in Family Practice at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Lee, his wife Laquita and their four children ages 13, 10, 7 and 5 now all enjoy the Florida lifestyle.

“I want to continue with the work that we’re doing, and the goal is to eliminate disparities [both geographic and financial that determine access to healthcare] and to create systems that eliminate these disparities. That’s what Ms. Means, Dr. Stewart and the leadership at the University of Florida College of Medicine and Shands Jacksonville are doing. They see the value of doing the right thing but it hasn’t been quick; it’s been a 20 year process,” Dr. Lee said.

Shands Jacksonville is the only academic medical center designated as a PCMH and one of only six sites with the designation in Florida. Dr. Lee, who also serves as Assistant Professor, Community Health and Family Medicine, UF College of Medicine– Jacksonville, says that the residents are really excited about a disease management system where they can be not only be productive but where patients will not fall through the cracks.

“We’re spending 19 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) in healthcare and the truth is that it’s just not sustainable,” Dr. Lee said. “We have 1,500 to 2,000 actual patients out there but with a system like this it’s possible to be more proactive in how we target them. The real issue is that we can’t manage chronic disease within the old system. We have an epidemic of chronic disease in the urban core. Twenty percent (1 in 5) of the population has diabetes and if you’re a university system like UF and Shands Jacksonville, you have to be proactive — and that’s where I come in.”

Using an Internet-based diabetes registry, a team approach and group visits, the Florida Academy of Family Physicians (FAFP) Foundation Diabetes Master Clinician Program offers physicians an edge on a disease that’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. There are now 104 Florida practices participating in the Diabetes Master Clinician Program (DMCP) representing 18,657 patients and 83,371 visits. The program aids the PCMH process.

“We’ve been a PCMH for about a year,” said Dr. Stewart. “It sets us on the path for higher reimbursement, which is one of our goals. Becoming a medical home allowed us to cut the bottom-line expenses for Shands because we’ve reduced the number of uninsured medical visits to the emergency room by 14,000 per year. We’ve held at about 18,000 visits per year versus about 40,000 based on current models without the medical home model. We’ve also reduced the number of uninsured hospital days by from seven to four.”

 

 
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