New Cholla Health Center Ribbon Cutting

On November 17th, NOAH welcomed community members and partners to the new Cholla Health Center for a ribbon cutting event. Attendees were able to learn more about Cholla’s history, the patients, and the NOAH team.

Attendees had the opportunity to listen to several guest speakers. NOAH CEO Wendy Armendariz kicked off the ceremony by introducing the Cholla Health Center, along with Wendy Lyons presenting the history of NOAH. Immediately following was David Ortega, Mayor of Scottsdale, and Thomas Galvin on behalf of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Board of Directors, Kavita Bernstein closed out the ceremony by showing recognition to NOAH community partners and staff.

NOAH Recognized for Community Health Quality

How Badges are Determined

NOAH, along with all other FQHCs and look-alikes are required to report a core set of information known as the UDS or Uniform Data System to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) every calendar year. This data includes patient characteristics, services provided, clinical processes and health outcomes, patients’ use of services, staffing, costs, and revenues. Upon review of this information, Health Centers are awarded Community Health Quality Recognition (CHQR) badges for notable quality improvement achievements in the areas of access, quality, health equity, health information technology, and COVID-19 public health emergency response.

NOAH was awarded the following badges:

Access Enhancer

Increased the total number of patients and the number of patients who receive at least one comprehensive service (mental health, substance abuse, vision, dental, and/or enabling) by at least 5%.

Addressing Social Risk Factors

Conducted regular screening for social risk factors impacting patient health and increased the proportion of patients receiving enabling services.

Health Disparities Reducer

Achieved at least a 10% improvement in low birth weight, hypertension control, and/or uncontrolled diabetes for at least one racial/ethnic group, while maintaining or improving overall performance; and/or met specific benchmarks in these areas for all racial/ethnic groups.

Advancing Health Information Technology

Utilize an electronic health record (EHR) system, offer telehealth services, exchange clinical information electronically with key healthcare providers, engage patients through health IT, and collect data on patient social risk factors.

National Quality Leader – Behavioral Health

NOAH was the only organization in the state to receive this badge!

Met or exceeded national benchmarks for depression remission, depression screening, and follow-up; at least 5% of all patients receiving Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), and at least a 10% increase in patients receiving Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).

Patient Centered Medical Home

Achieved PCMH recognition in one or more delivery sites.

Visit HRSA’s Community Health Quality Recognition Dashboard for a complete list of award categories and badges earned by health center organizations in Arizona and throughout the country.

Who Should Get the New Bivalent COVID-19 Booster?

Along with the approval of the new bivalent COVID-19 booster comes new recommendations from the CDC that everyone who is eligible should receive this booster. So who needs which vaccines and when? NOAH’s expert and Pharmacy Director, Eric Scherf weighs in on the most frequently asked questions.

Q. How is this vaccine different from previous vaccines?

A. The new bivalent COVID-19 boosters protect against the original strain of COVID and the omicron variant. Previous vaccines and boosters have only been monovalent, meaning they only offered protection against the original strain of COVID-19.

Q. Which COVID vaccines should patients have before getting this vaccine?

A. To be eligible for the bivalent COVID-19 booster, patients should have completed their primary series vaccine and any boosters at least two months ago.

Q. Which bivalent COVID-19 boosters does NOAH offer?

A. NOAH currently offers Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters. Availability varies by clinic so patients having a preference of manufacturer should inquire when scheduling.

Q. What ages are eligible for the bivalent COVID-19 booster?

A. Patients ages 12 and up are eligible for the Pfizer bivalent booster and ages 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna bivalent booster.

Q. Can patients get the bivalent COVID-19 booster at the same time as their flu vaccine?

A. Yes! Patients can schedule to get the flu vaccine and bivalent COVID-19 booster during the same appointment.

Q. Will the bivalent COVID-19 booster make patients sick?

A. If patients experience any side effects, expect them to be minor and brief, as with previous COVID-19 vaccines, the bivalent booster may cause pain, redness and swelling at the injection site; fatigue; headache; muscle pain; joint pain; chills; nausea/vomiting and fever.

Q. How much does the bivalent COVID-19 booster cost?

A. At this time, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are covered by the federal government. Insurance, if applicable, may be billed for costs associated with administration of the vaccine.

Q. How can I sign-up to get the bivalent COVID-19 booster?

A. Patients who would like to get the booster can request an appointment online or call 480-882-4545 to schedule.

For more details about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, feel free to ask your NOAH provider or check out the CDC website.

Ready to Vote?

Register to vote, verify your registration, or request a ballot here:

NOAH has partnered with the national nonpartisan, non-profit organization, Vot-ER to help ensure our patients are ready to vote in the upcoming election. Healthcare organizations across the country are participating in this effort to build awareness about the impact of voting.

Why?

There are a couple of reasons why NOAH is part of this campaign.

Everyone needs healthcare. Our services reach a diverse population and can be effective in getting the word out throughout Maricopa County.

Health centers rely on government funding for a significant portion of our operating costs. This funding is decided on by our elected officials and/or guidelines set through legislation.

VOTE. It matters.

When you vote, you are helping to select people who will represent your views on important topics and legislation that impacts the way you live. Take the opportunity to share your voice by voting in every election. Voting can be complicated but there are lots of unbiased resources to help explain who and what is on the ballot in terms that are easy to understand.

If you need more information on how to register to vote or details about what’s on the ballot, click here or text VOTE NOAH to 34444.

Cholla Health Center Provider Profile: Meet Dr. Eller

NOAH’s newest location, Cholla Health Center, is expected to open in late 2022. Conveniently located in south Scottsdale, the 30,000 square foot facility will combine three of NOAH’s locations; Heuser Family Medicine Center, Heuser Pediatric Dental, and the north Scottsdale Cholla Health Center. With capacity to serve over 16,000 patients annually, NOAH is able to provide care for all of the existing patients as well as welcome many new patients. For more information about the new Cholla Health Center including details about the new facility, construction progress, services offered, and NOAH’s Scottsdale roots, visit the project website.

At NOAH, we believe high quality healthcare starts with great people and are pleased to have experienced, caring, and passionate providers like Dr. Eller on our team.

Linda Eller, DO

Q. How long have you been a provider with NOAH?

A. I started working for NOAH in February 2017 and have now been with NOAH for five and a half years.

Q. If I asked your patients to describe what makes you a good provider, what would they say?

A. I work with my patients in shared decision making to help them achieve their healthcare goals.

Q. What is the most rewarding thing about being a NOAH provider?

A. At NOAH I have had the ability to serve a diverse patient population and have earned the trust of many patients. 

Q. What positive changes have you seen in community healthcare over the years?

Keeping telehealth as an option has been a great addition for our NOAH patients. At NOAH, our wonderful integrative team helps to offer comprehensive care for our patients.

Q. What about the new Cholla Health Center excites you the most?

A. As a provider at the previous Cholla location, we’ve been without a permanent home, off and on, for over two years. I am excited to have a clinic to serve my patients in full-time.

Q, What do you hope the new Cholla Health Center will bring to the south Scottsdale community?

A. NOAH has operated clinics in north and Old Town Scottsdale but has not had the capacity to extend services as far south and east as we will with this new location. There is a high demand in this area for an integrated healthcare offering that supports underserved populations

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?

A. My husband and I are passionate about traveling and recently visited Puerto Rico. We loved the beautiful island, the people, and culture. We hiked the rain forest, relaxed on the beautiful beaches, and enjoyed time with friends. More locally, Sedona is one of our favorite places in Arizona to explore. We love the delicious food, beautiful hikes, and peacefulness the town offers.

To learn more about Dr. Eller, check out her Provider Profile.

Every Vote Counts

We are excited to partner with Vot-ER to promote the importance of voting! Vot-ER is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to integrating civil engagement into healthcare with one simple message:

“Voting is an important way to make your voice heard and influence government policies that affect our community.

Shape Your Community, Shape Your Health

The officials we vote into office make important decisions, like how much prescription drugs cost and whether we have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in our neighborhoods.

As voters, we can directly influence these policies and help shape the health of our community for generations to come.

You Don’t Have to be an Expert on Politics to Vote

Need help deciding who or what to vote for? Discuss with friends and family, search online for local voter guides, and read endorsements from news sources you trust.

Voting is important—but it doesn’t have to be a burden.

This is Your Community

You and your neighbors know best what your community needs to thrive. Whether you’re new to the area or have lived in your neighborhood all your life, your voice is needed in every election.”

Vot-ER.org

Who is Voting?

Non-Hispanic white people have a 71% share of votes across the country based on a study conducted by the Elect Project, a program administered by the University of Florida Department of Political Science. Further results from the 2020 presidential election cross-referenced with Census data indicate that 72% of people with education beyond high school voted, while 55% of people with a high school education voted, and only 40% of people with less than a high school education voted.

Statistically, minority populations with lower income levels, and less education are more prominent in medically underserved communities. As a result, we can presume that a large portion of our patients’ opinions are not being represented in government elections.

What We’re Doing

Over the next eight weeks, we will be encouraging every NOAH patient and employee to make sure they’re registered to vote and commit to voting in the November 8 election. This is a nonpartisan, unbiased effort meaning we don’t have any interest in how people vote – only that their vote is counted.

Ways to Support NOAH

In celebration of National Health Center Week, August 7-14, we are spreading the word about health centers, how they function, and how you can help us make a difference in the communities we serve.

What is a Health Center?

According to the Healthcare Advocacy Network, there are four main components every health center must have in order to operate as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

Organizations must:

  1. Be located in areas of high need: Designated as medically underserved areas or populations by the federal government
  2. Offer a comprehensive set of services: Based on community needs, health centers offer medical, dental, vision, behavioral health, and enabling services
  3. Be open to everyone: Regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, and offer sliding fee scale options to low-income patients
  4. Have patient-majority governing boards: At least 51% of every health center board of directors must be made up of patients

By meeting the above criteria along with lots of other detailed requirements, health centers can be designated as FQHCs. This designation makes health centers like NOAH eligible to receive federal grant funding.

Are FQHCs Funded by the Government?

Not entirely. FQHCs have been around for nearly 60 years and while healthcare has changed a lot in the last six decades, health centers have too. Here’s a look at how FQHCs are funded today:

  • Grants and contracts consist of all government allocations including limited-time funding like COVID-19 relief dollars.
  • Patients includes all dollars exchanged for patient services billed through medicaid (AHCCCS), medicare, private insurance, and self-pay options.
  • Other refers to individual and corporate donations.

What is the Impact of FQHCs?

Health center visits nationwide saw a five-year growth rate of nearly 18% from 2015 to 2020. In Arizona the number of visits grew by more than 60% while health center locations have grown by 40% both locally and nationally. This shows a major need for health center facility growth in Arizona. At NOAH, we’ve addressed this growth by increasing telehealth services and expanding the size and capacity of our clinics. Our new Desert Mission location opened earlier this year in Sunnyslope and we are on-track to introduce our new expanded Cholla Health Center in south Scottsdale by the end of 2022.  NOAH had 237,000 patient appointments in 2021 averaging out to roughly five visits last year for each of our 45,000 patients.

What Can You Do to Help?

Vote in Every Election

Health centers rely on government funding for a significant portion of our operating costs. This funding is decided on by our elected officials and/or guidelines set through legislation. Both of these factors are determined by YOU, your neighbors, your friends, your family, and your opinions when you vote. Take the opportunity to share your voice by voting in every election. Voting can be complicated but there are lots of unbiased resources to help explain who and what is on the ballot in terms that are easy to understand. If you need more information on how to vote or register to vote, check out vot-er.org.  

Donate or Support Businesses Who Do

While the piece for “Other Funding” is seemingly small in comparison to the rest of the pie, it accounts for a lot of budget dollars – in NOAH’s case $4.5 million. Donating doesn’t have to mean writing a check or dropping a $20 bill in a collection box. There are lots of other ways to donate. Programs like Amazon Smile and Fry’s Community Rewards give a portion of what you spend to an organization of choice in your community. There’s also the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit which essentially lets you allocate up to $800 (married filing jointly) or up to $400 (individual) from your taxes to NOAH as a qualifying non-profit organization.

Tell Everyone You Know

Spread the word about health centers, our impact, and all the ways to support our efforts in each community. It’s as easy as hitting “share” on social media, asking your community to sign up for fundraising opportunities that benefit NOAH, or telling your friends and family about the NOAH health center in your neighborhood.

Become a Patient

Choose a health center for your family’s healthcare needs. NOAH offers high-quality integrated healthcare in multiple locations throughout the valley as well as telehealth options for virtual appointments wherever you are.  Everyone is welcome at NOAH and it is our privilege to serve you. Request an appointment today.

Monkeypox: What You Need to Know

According to recent reports released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of August 1 there have been over 5,100 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States with Arizona accounting for 50 of those cases. Our best defense against monkeypox is to keep it from spreading by understanding symptoms of the virus and how it’s transmitted. Dr. Vanyo-Novak, Family Physician and Medical Director for NOAH answers some of the most common questions.

Q: What is monkeypox?

A: Monkeypox is a virus that can cause fever, body aches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that typically starts on the face, arms, and legs and spreads toward the trunk. 

Examples of Monkeypox rash:

Monkeypox Example

Though cases are on the rise, this infection is still rare and there is much you can do to protect yourself.

Q: Is monkeypox the same thing as chickenpox?

A: No, monkeypox is caused by a different virus. 

Monkeypox is most similar to Smallpox, a virus that last seen in the U.S. back in 1949. 

Though monkeypox and chickenpox both involve rashes that can itch and be painful, the rash in monkeypox starts as flat red spots that become raised within 1-2 days and then pus filled within 5-7 days.  The rash in monkeypox can involve the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, the rash in chickenpox doesn’t.  Monkeypox also causes swollen lymph glands, something you don’t usually see with chickenpox. 

Q: Who is at risk for monkeypox?

A: Anyone who comes in close contact with other people or animals infected with monkeypox.

Monkeypox can be spread through:

  • direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluid
  • touching items (clothes, linens) that previously touched the rash or bodily fluids
  • inhaling respiratory secretions during close face-to face contact or during intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • pregnant women can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta 

Q: How do I protect myself and my family from monkeypox? 

A: There is a lot you can do to avoid contracting monkeypox, including: 

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have rashes.  Avoid touching rashes or scabs on other people.
  • Do not kiss, cuddle, or have sex with someone who has suspected or confirmed monkeypox.
  • Do not share utensils or cups with someone who has suspected or confirmed monkeypox.
  • Do not touch bedding, towels, or clothes of someone who has suspected or confirmed monkeypox.
  • Avoid touching your face and clean your hands after touching other people or surfaces.  This can be done with soap and water or with and alcohol-based sanitizer. 
  • If you work in a NOAH Health Center or other patient care environment, make sure to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and exercise good hand hygiene.

Q: Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

A: Yes, there are two vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for preventing monkeypox.  These vaccines are in limited supply and available through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Health Department only.  Unlike most of our vaccines, the monkeypox vaccines can be given after a known exposure to the virus and still be effective.  At this time, the vaccines are mostly being used in high risk individuals who have had close contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox.

Q: What if I suspect I have monkeypox?

A: Please self-isolate until you can seek medical attention for further evaluation.  NOAH has an RN Nurse Triage line available to help assess your symptoms and determine whether a telehealth or in office visit is needed.  Testing for monkeypox can only be completed during an in office visit.  Please make sure to wear a mask and cover all open sores prior to entering any of our NOAH clinics.  This is to help decrease the spread of the virus.

Q: Is there treatment for monkeypox?

A: No, there is no specific treatment for monkeypox.  That being said, because monkeypox is so similar to smallpox and smallpox does have a treatment, TPOXX, this treatment can be approved under what’s called “compassionate use” for patients at extreme risk for complications.  This medication is only available through the CDC.  If a NOAH clinician believes a patient may need treatment for monkeypox they will help coordinate next steps with the CDC.  Though most cases of monkeypox will resolve on their own and not require treatment there are some instances where treatment is indicated (examples include patients with active HIV, intolerable pain from the monkeypox lesions). 

Q: What is NOAH doing to prevent the spread of monkeypox in our clinics?

A: NOAH Health Center teams follow specific guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases.  Patients with symptoms indicating a potentially contagious condition are roomed upon arrival to the clinic. NOAH staff follow strict protocols for use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning of the exam rooms and office equipment after each visit.

Q: Where can I learn more about monkeypox?

A: For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please visit the CDC website.

Back to School Wellness Bundle

The demands for back to school can be overwhelming when it comes to backpacks, haircuts, and new outfits, but many students are also in need of required vaccinations, well child checks, or sports physicals.

NOAH is easing the stress of back to school health needs with our Wellness Bundle. This visit takes about an hour and is your “one and done” health exam for back to school. Schedule one appointment and see multiple providers who will examine your child’s health needs in the following areas:

  • Medical & Immunizations
  • Dental
  • Nutrition
  • Emotional Health
  • Community Resources

Any recommended follow-up care will be noted and then scheduled when it’s convenient for you.

Wellness Bundle appointments are available for children of any age at NOAH’s Desert Mission and Palomino Health Centers from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the following dates:

Desert Mission Health Center

  • Saturday, August 13

Palomino Health Center

  • Thursday, August 4
  • Friday, August 5

Your family’s health is important to us and we know your time is valuable. Let NOAH help check a few items off your list this back to school season.

Call us at 480-882-4545 to book your Wellness Bundle or request an appointment online.

New 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will have a new number beginning July 16. While help will still be available through the current ten-digit Lifeline, access to support through a new three-digit phone number, 988, will make it even easier to get support.

What Does the Lifeline Do?

For every one person who dies from suicide, 316 others seriously consider suicide but do not kill themselves (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)). In many cases, simply talking with a friend, family member, or counselor can mean the difference between life and death.

That’s where the Lifeline comes in. Anyone can call, text or chat with a trained counselor through the Lifeline – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Lifeline is connected to over 200 accredited crisis call centers located throughout the country. When someone calls 988, their call is routed to a location near them. Being connected with someone local helps with finding resources for follow-up treatment and support. However, being part of a nationwide program ensures no call goes unanswered when local counselors are not available.

Why the Change?

The new number is easy to remember, quick to dial, and with a universal code like 911, is an an equally accessible option for life-saving care. As an alternative to calling 911 for mental health services, calls to the 988 Lifeline are expected to increase. Lifeline program administrator, Vibrant Emotional Heath, puts it simply, “When you’ve got a police, fire, or rescue emergency, you call 911. When you have an urgent mental health need, you call 988.”    

How Can You Help?

Over 20 million calls have been made to the Lifeline since it became available in 2005. Although some initial support for 988 has come from federal, state and local resources, more help is needed to staff, fund, and raise awareness of the service.

With the anticipated increase in calls, SAMHSA is actively recruiting volunteers, interns, and employees to serve as crisis counselors and managers for the Lifeline. Check out the Lifeline website for more ways you can support your local crisis call center.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call, text or chat the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 or 988

For non-urgent needs, consider scheduling an appointment with a NOAH counselor.