A centerpiece of Synergy Services’ Homeless Youth Campus, the Youth Resiliency Center’s onsite medical, dental, and mental health clinic is a community funded clinic that promotes a coordinated and integrated system of safety net care. The targeted population is runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth who are uninsured and medically underserved. These young people come to Synergy suffering from the physical and mental health consequences of a life of poverty, abuse, and neglect. Through education, motivation, and support, the integrated and patient-centered clinic works with each youth and empowers him/her to take control of their physical and emotional health. All three service areas of the clinic (mental, medical, dental) are adolescent-focused and sensitive to the unique needs of this population. The purpose of the onsite health clinic is to provide integrated, quality, youth-focused, and accessible health care for a poor and underserved population. The clinic is open to youth from across the community who are referred by other organizations, school districts, Synergy’s street outreach team, low income housing from the surrounding neighborhood, churches, and youth who are or have resided in Synergy’s emergency shelter and transitional housing program. During the first half of 2012, the onsite clinic provided nearly 5,000 hours of mental health therapy to 294 youth, and Miles of Smiles and Children’s Mercy cared for the dental and physical health needs of 437 underserved and impoverished teens. As of July, 2012, 100% of youth utilizing the clinic had the barriers reduced with 54% returning for follow-up care. This return rate is an indication that youth are making an ongoing connection to the clinic staff while also experiencing little wait time for appointments. Over 90% of the clients had a wait time of 7 minutes or less to see a clinic provider and 95% of youth were able to be seen within one day. Based on the client’s satisfaction survey, 89% believed the service was very helpful; 11% believed the service was helpful; 1% believed the service was somewhat helpful. The design of the clinic as an integrated, youth-focused program that is also based on the principles of the medical home model is an innovative approach to health care service delivery for this most underserved population of youth. While quality services is crucial within each of the clinic’s areas of care provided, it is the integration and the commitment to establishing ongoing relationships that Synergy feels is the most innovative aspect of the onsite clinic. This approach of service delivery wraps around each youth, eliminates barriers, and fosters overall wellness, commitment to personal health, and personal transformation in a cost-effective and efficient design.
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