QUEENSBURY. N.Y. (NEWS10) – West Mountain Family Health Center, run by Hudson Headwaters Health Network, is trying out something new. As of the end of last week, the campus is trying to improve both work-life balance for staff and care for patients, with a “team care” approach.

The idea is to give individual patients at the facility a group of familiar faces. Those who use Hudson Headwaters facilities as their primary care providers typically have a main physician who they see, similar to any other doctor’s office. What’s different is the large number of other providers, nurses and administrative staff who also work there. The aim is to give a given patient a more consistent group of people in those other roles who they will see when they come in, giving a patient a tight-knit circle of individual faces to recognize and communicate with, inside of a bigger system.

“This launch follows years of learning from innovative organizations that have successfully transitioned to team care,” explained Hudson Headwaters CEO Dr. Tucker Slingerland. “Though the new model of care is a big undertaking, we are building a better, sustainable system that benefits everyone. This approach is a result of patient and staff feedback and will enhance the patient-provider experience.” 

One purpose of the new program is that, if a person’s primary care physician is not available during a visit, the patient will instead be seen by someone else they are just as familiar with. The West Mountain center is the first Hudson Headwaters facility to make the change to the new system. Moreau Family Health Center is set to follow suit on April 25, and others thereafter.

That change brings with it some shuffling around at the West Mountain facility buildings. West Mountain Family Health, formerly known as West Mountain Health Services, Building 2, will serve as the home of all primary care doctors and staff. West Mountain Specialty Care, formerly West Mountain Health Services, Building 1, will be home to the Hudson Headwaters HIV/Ryan White program, Hepatitis C program, Homeward Bound/Pathways senior program, as well as nephrology, podiatry, neurology, sports medicine, skin lesion treatment and rheumatology.

“This is truly a win for the patient and a win for the staff,” says Bill Borgos, M.D., chief medical officer. “The modern health care experience has become complex, with much time spent filling out forms, documenting care and navigating computer systems. The team care model emphasizes human connection and enables more uninterrupted time to answer questions and build relationships.”