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Community Physician Network and The Damien Center announce clinic partnership; Expanded medical clinic to provide full spectrum of HIV care under one roof

For release on April 10, 2014

Indianapolis, IN---- The Damien Center recently expanded its existing on-site medical clinic through a newly formed partnership with Community Physician Network Infectious Disease Care, a collaboration that  allows both organizations to meet the growing need for accessible HIV care in Central Indiana. Providing medical care at the same physical location as other HIV services increases the likelihood that individuals living with HIV will not only seek medical care, but also start and adhere to treatment, according to Randall Salyer, nurse practitioner and HIV specialist at Community Physician Network.

Established in November 2012, the medical clinic at the Damien Center has served 82 clients and experienced a 20.7 percent average increase in CD4 count (white blood cells that fight infection) and a 91.8 percent average decrease in viral load (the level of HIV in a patient’s blood), key health indicators for individuals living with HIV. With the addition of Community Physician Network, The Damien Center expects to double the number of clients served through the clinic. Salyer sees patients on-site at The Damien Center one day each week, providing HIV care and primary care according to the needs of each client. Clients of both The Damien Center and other HIV care sites can access the clinic through referrals.

“Expanding our infectious disease care to The Damien Center enables us to provide a holistic experience for individuals living with HIV,” said Salyer. “This partnership combines Community’s clinical expertise with the niche social services provided by The Damien Center to treat all aspects of the HIV diagnosis. Most importantly, patients are receiving services when and where they need them. Our hope is that by providing this coordinated and convenient access, we will improve the lives of those in our community affected by HIV/AIDS.”

In accordance with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, The Damien Center offers a one-stop shop for individuals living with HIV to receive the care, support, and vital services they need to live healthy and dignified lives. Services include mental health and substance abuse counseling, HIV care coordination, a food pantry, housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, and more. While The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that HIV-positive individuals should be linked to care within three months to a maximum of six months from initial diagnosis of HIV, national studies show that only 60 to 75 percent of individuals are linked to care within that time. Complex barriers to getting medical care include mental health and substance use issues, lack of transportation, lack of health insurance, low health literacy, fear, stigma, inappropriate paperwork or ID, homelessness, or economic factors. System-level barriers can also limit linkage to care for individuals and can include long wait lists for services or medications, a lack of co-located services, shortage of health care providers, lack of culturally appropriate services, and complex or confusing administrative processes.

“The ability to provide medical services in-house at The Damien Center has proven highly effective in improving patient care,” said Thomas Bartenbach, executive director at The Damien Center. “During the first year of clinic operations, patients engaged in medical care at the agency had a show rate for appointments of 94 percent, a marked improvement over the typically reported show rate of 60 to 65 percent. This directly correlates to more patients receiving care, medications, and improved health.”

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, more than 10,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Indiana and nearly half reside in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. The Damien Center, which has been offering HIV/AIDS care and prevention services since 1987, and Community Physician Network, a leader in integrated, accessible healthcare, are proud to partner in providing this critical service for HIV-positive individuals living in an area disproportionately affected by HIV.

About Community Physician Network
Community Physician Network is one of the area’s largest multi-specialty medical groups, including more than 600 providers including primary care and specialty physicians, as well as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, in more than 80 locations across central Indiana. Community Physician Network is part of Community Health Network, which is ranked among thenation’s most integrated healthcare networks and includes specialty and acute care hospitals, health pavilions, surgery centers, home care, MedChecks, behavioral health and employer health services. Community Physician Network is dedicated to putting patients first, providing a full continuum of care that is easy for patients to use. To learn more, visit eCommunity.com/physician or call 800-777-7775.

About The Damien Center
The mission of The Damien Center is to lead the fight to prevent the spread of HIV and to empower persons in Central Indiana affected by HIV/AIDS to move forward each day with dignity. The Damien Center offers vital supportive services to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS so they may live abundant and productive lives. We also provide comprehensive HIV prevention services, including HIV testing, prevention counseling, education, and advocacy. We believe passionately in the dignity and worth of every person who seeks our services. We strive to be a safe and welcoming place so that no barriers separate people from the services they need to prolong and enhance their lives.

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Courtney Jones, Media Relations
Courtney Jones
Media Relations