Community of Hope Provides Next Door Health Care

Conway Health and Resource Center brings accessible health services to Bellevue

Community of Hope's Conway Health and Resource Center opened in January 2014.

South Capitol Street, below 295, hasn’t seen much new construction in decades. It is lined with blocks and blocks of apartment buildings and businesses that date back to the late 1950s. So it would be hard to miss the shiny new four-story building that sits upon Atlantic Street. Perhaps that’s a good thing because when it comes to providing health care in Ward 8, where health disparities are blatant, you need a noticeable landmark to guide residents to a wellness center.

With health and social services for families, Community of Hope Conway Health and Resource Center aims to provide wraparound health care for residents to get them healthy and add more life to their years.  

The Conway Health and Resource Center opened in January 2014. The 50,000 square foot facility is equipped to handle many health needs. There are 20 medical exam rooms, 11 dental chairs, 6 rooms for behavioral health services. Pediatric and women’s health care is offered. Soon to be added will be an ophthalmologist area for vision exams. “We try to cover as many needs as possible in one space. And we try to be as welcoming as possible. I think that when patients come in and meet the providers and see the beautiful space and that everyone is friendly,  they will want to come back,” stated Kelly Sweeney McShane, President and CEO of Community of Hope.  

The Conway Center is a product of the Medical Homes DC Project, a program that is set to rebuild the District of Columbia’s primary care system by granting funds to existing health care facilities to help them expand their programs. It is estimated that 210,000 low-income residents who live in areas of DC lack sufficient medical services.  The Conway Center is projected to serve at least 40,000 patients per year. 

With funding from several providers including Bill and Joanne Conway, for whom the center is named, Community of Hope hopes to be the medical home that establishes a long term relationship with residents so that they know where they can go for comprehensive health care.  “One benefit of integrated services is that you don’t have to tell your story over and over again. The provider you see will already know what’s going on. So, for example, if you’re suffering from depression we can do a quick referral and the therapist can see what kind of medication you’re on. They don’t need all the details.  We can follow up with the patients better,” says Sweeney McShane. 

The Medical Landscape

According to the 2014 Community Health Assessment Survey, there are a sufficient number of providers serving the District but there are still “Medical Underserved” designated areas, particularly in Ward 8.  In terms of coverage, Medicaid expansion in DC under the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of residents who have insurance coverage. However that doesn’t guarantee that more providers will be available to meet the health needs of participants. Conway Health Center is expected to alleviate that burden a bit by providing care. 

Another point that must be highlighted is the need for medical homes. There are few doctor’s offices that are independent of United Medical Center in Ward 8. Research shows that when patients establish a medical home with a doctor they feel comfortable with they are more likely to remain in care and get necessary, life-saving screenings in a timely manner.  Dr. Shayla Graham-Brock, a family practice physician at the Conway Center, says establishing a relationship with her patients is paramount.  “A medical home means not rushing to the ER when you’re not well. Patients should feel comfortable in a place where they know their medical provider. Our focus is to make this a place where you have a provider and you feel comfortable.”

Breast Care for Washington 

Conveniently located within the Conway Health and Resource Center is the first state-of-the-art breast cancer screening facility east of the Anacostia River with 3D technology for screening and diagnostic mammograms.  This facility is operated by Breast Care for Washington, a new organization founded in 2012 by two local women – Dr. Regina Hampton, a breast surgeon, and Beth Beck former Executive Director of Capital Breast Care Center.  “Our mission is reduce breast cancer mortality in the Washington, DC area by promoting access to breast cancer screening, diagnostics, and treatment to all women regardless of their ability to pay” said Beth Beck, CEO/President of BCW.  “Our partnership with COH was an excellent match from the very beginning as we each have a goal of reducing health disparities in the District.  As COH was developing the Conway Center it was clear that comprehensive health services was something they were interested in,”  said Beck.  “Our mammography services fit right in.”

3D mammography is the most advanced technology available for breast cancer screening and is currently only available in the larger institutions in Northwest DC.  3D mammograms increase the chances of finding cancer earlier when it is more treatable. Later-stage breast cancer diagnosis may be more common in African-American women. “Now women living on the east side of the Anacostia no longer have to trek across the bridge to get comprehensive, quality care for their breast health,” said Beck.  BCW anticipates being fully accredited for 3D mammograms early this fall.  In the meantime BCW offers fully digital screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, and minimally invasive biopsies onsite in the Conway Center.  Patients don’t need a referral for a screening – you just need to be over 40 and have not had one in the past year. “We will screen all women, even those without insurance,” says Beck.   If patients don’t have a primary care provider, BCW will work with COH to provide them one. Appointments for a mammogram may be scheduled.by calling 202-465-7164. 

Expect Breast Care for Washington to have more partnerships in the community.  The second phase of the program scheduled to be launched in 2015 will be a mobile screening program providing mammography services to be provided with other community health clinics on a rotating basis.  “Our goal is grow to be the primary provider of community breast cancer screening services in the Washington, DC area,” stated Beck.

For more information about Community of Hope, visit www.communityofhopedc.org . For more information about Breast Care for Washington, visit www.breastcareforwashington.org.

Breast Care for Washington, located inside Conway Health and Resource Center on Atlantic Street, opened for patients in May.
Breast Care for Washington has the only 3D Mammogram machine in Wards 7 and 8.

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