Meeting Health Care Needs beyond the Clinical Setting – Visalia Chamber Business Update

Kerry Hydash, President & CEO

Positively impacting the lives of hundreds of patients over the last decade, Family Healthcare Network’s (FHCN) Weight Control Class recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. With contributions from numerous FHCN registered dietitians and behavioral health providers throughout the years, the courses’ long-running success is no doubt on account of the team’s collective efforts to create a unique and supportive educational environment for participants.

FHCN’s Weight Control Class is one of many health education classes provided at the Network, each offering a unique approach to address the health needs of our patients as an extension to clinical services. Designated as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), patients of FHCN have access to a wide range of services. As a PCMH, we continually look for ways to work alongside our patients and help them manage and achieve long-term health. FHCN’s health education program plays a valuable role in linking patients beyond the clinical setting to vital support services.

Children and adults in Tulare County are increasingly susceptible to multiple comorbidities associated with obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Classes at FHCN are designed to address the needs of high-risk patients and the chronic conditions that are frequently prevalent in the Central Valley. Based on documented data reported by the California Department of Public Health, long term, short term, and uncontrolled levels of diabetes in Tulare County exceed State levels. Thirteen percent (13%) of Tulare County residents live with diabetes, while the overall state prevalence is just 7%.

Among others, our Diabetes, Healthy Pregnancy, and Chronic Disease Self-Management classes are all examples of our efforts to empower and equip patients with the tools they need to live active and healthy lifestyles. Offered free of charge, attendance of these classes continues to grow, and many of our classes have expanded their reach beyond Visalia into other service areas, including Porterville and Woodlake. We have further expanded access by offering most classes in both Spanish and English.

As our health education program continues to grow, we look towards greater coordination of care and improved health outcomes for our communities served.

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