Kentucky: A new wave of progress in healthcare is coming
This is from Exceptional Parent Magazine * August 2013 * by Matt Holder, MD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of the Lee Specialty Clinic and the President of the Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry
On June 11, 2014, Governor Steven L. Beshear presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Lee Specialty Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky. While this ceremony celebrated the opening of just one clinic in one city in the United States, this single event marks one of the most significant developments in healthcare for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in decades.
The Lee Specialty Clinic focuses exclusively on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Its core services include primary care medical services, specialty medical services, dental services, psychiatric and behavioral services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and crisis intervention services. These services are provided in an interdisciplinary fashion, whereby the professionals who provide them communicate with each other for the benefit of the patient. The Lee Specialty Clinic also serves as a teaching and research program where students from any healthcare discipline can learn, intensively, how to care for people with I/DD. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, the clinic model is reproducible. Its funding model has been approved at the federal level and its coordinated through the Medicaid system. This means that any state that desires to create such a model can do so.
YEARS OF COLLABORATION
The creation of the Lee Specialty Clinic did not occur overnight. In fact, it took years of collaboration between doctors, families, advocates, self-advocates, policy makers and governmental professionals, but its existence stands as a testament to what can be achieved when all of these groups work together for the benefit of people with IDD. The origin of the Lee Specialty Clinic dates back to 1999 when a dentist, Dr. Henry Hood, a family advocate, Louise Underwood and a state legislator, Representative Jimmie Lee worked diligently to create a pilot dental program. After three years of advocacy, the Underwood and Lee Dental Clinic opened its doors to the public in 2002. At the time, it was estimated that the clinic might serve two or three hundred people with IDD from the Louisville metropolitan area. By 2006, the clinic had received multiple awards for its innovative approach and quality outcomes and it was serving around 700 patients from over 30 counties in Kentucky. Some families drove five hours across the state just to come to the clinic.