A modern medical home built on a family medicine foundation
To promote wellness and provide accessible, compassionate, and culturally respectful health care in partnership with our patients and the communities we serve.
Together we build healthier lives.
Care for the whole family: We are committed to the family medicine approach that is based in a continuous, comprehensive and holistic provider-patient relationship.
Collaboration: We seek to improve the health and well-being of all individuals and communities we serve in partnership with aligned health and social service providers.
Education: Training health professionals to ensure a better future for our community.
Excellence: We strive to continuously improve and provide the highest standard of service through a patient-centered, team-based model.
Service to all: We believe that quality health care without barriers is a right.
Stewardship: We are committed to responsibly caring for our patients, our staff, and our material resources, making data-driven decisions informed by respect, compassion, and empathy.
Who We Serve
PrimeCare Community Health (PrimeCare) is a federally qualified community health center (FQHC) that provides quality, affordable care to medically underserved populations on Chicago’s West and Northwest sides. Over its 24-year history, PrimeCare has built a community-inspired, nationally recognized health center system that provides comprehensive family medical care at its five accessible locations, including health services for adults, seniors, women and children, as well as prenatal health services, behavioral health counseling, and case management, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.
In 2014, 20,374 patients made more than 53,400 visits to our health centers. Of these, 29% were between the ages of 0-18, 65% were adults between 19 and 64 years of age, and 6% were 65 and older. A third received care in languages other than English. More than half had income below the federal poverty level. Only 13% had private insurance. Three-quarters of patients were from minority populations including Hispanic/Latino (50%), African American (24%), and Asian (2%).
PrimeCare was launched as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in 1992. It was the product of a collaborative vision between the leadership at Saint Elizabeth Hospital, on Chicago’s West Side, and community partners in the surrounding area who sought to ensure that underserved and uninsured residents would not go without healthcare. The first clinic, in West Town, was located on the St. Elizabeth’s Campus, where it remains. The second opened in Logan Square.
PrimeCare attained full FQHC status in 2000, making it one of only 22 such centers in Chicago. In order to become an FQHC, health centers must undergo a rigorous qualification process to prove that the services they offer meet the highest standards of care. Once qualified, FQHCs receive enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as federal grant support and other benefits. This makes it possible for centers to provide services in areas or to populations that have historically had limited access to healthcare for free or on a sliding scale. In return, FQHCs must provide comprehensive services and the quality of those services is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
In 2003, Saint Elizabeth merged with Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital to become the Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC), which eventually became part of the Presence Health Care System. Throughout these changes, PrimeCare has maintained a strong collaborative relationship with PSMEMC, which provides care for unfunded patients who need inpatient services.
PrimeCare expanded services into the Humboldt Park neighborhood in 2001 with the opening of our Northwest health center. In 2008, in partnership with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Chicago, Advocate Illinois and Chicago Public Schools, PrimeCare Ames opened at Ames Middle School, offering health services to its students five days a week, and to the community two half days a week. In 2014, PrimeCare Ames was renamed PrimeCare Hamlin, when the Ames Middle School became Marine Leadership Academy, serving students in grades 7-12. In 2011, PrimeCare began a collaborative relationship with Presence Our Lady of Resurrection (POLR) Medical Center, leading to the creation of a fifth health center, adjacent to the hospital in Chicago’s Portage Park community. This relationship continued in 2015 when the the hospital became Community First Medical Center.
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, PrimeCare has expanded the range of its services to include outreach and enrollment, with Certified Medicaid, Medicare and Marketplace counselors. These specialists serve both PrimeCare patients and the communities served by the health center PrimeCare has applied for recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home and expects this designation will be awarded to all five sites in early 2016.
Promoting Family Medicine
As a family medicine practice, PrimeCare is committed to providing health services across the lifespan for all of the communities we serve. To ensure that future generations of doctors share this commitment, our West Town Health Center serves as one of two teaching sites for the PSMEMC Family Medicine Residency Program. As such, West Town represents a teaching practice. It provides doctors enrolled in an accredited three-year Family Medicine Residency with hands-on experience caring for a diverse patient population. Overseeing their work are eight board-certified family practitioners who also serves as faculty physicians. They provide constant and direct supervision of all patient care. Our medical residents provide the full range of medical services offered at every PrimeCare health center.
In addition to medical residents, PrimeCare provides Behavioral Health training and experience to externs from some of Chicago’s most highly regarded Psychology masters- and doctoral-level programs. These externs are supervised by the PrimeCare Behavioral Health staff. During their year at PrimeCare, they perform Behavioral Health assessments, provide individual and group therapy, and support medical staff in dealing with patients with depression and other disorders.
Health Care Built Around You and Your Family
PrimeCare is first and foremost a family practice. It is staffed by family doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who offer services for all of your loved ones. We help you:
Get Healthcare: Ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare is our mission. If you don’t have it now, our outreach and enrollment staff will work with you to get health insurance or financial assistance and find the provider right for you.
Get Routine, Urgent and Preventive Care: Individuals of all ages can get the full range of preventive and primary care services.
Start a Family When You are Ready: Couples can find access to birth control and family planning.
Grow Your Family: When you are ready to grow your family, we offer comprehensive prenatal care including prenatal exams and pregnancy care, in-hospital labor and delivery, in-hospital newborn care and breastfeeding support.
Ensure Your Children have Good Health: Once your baby is born, we provide all of the services a growing child needs, including growth and development monitoring, lead screenings, immunizations, asthma and allergy management, vision and developmental screenings and physical exams for sports and school. We also provide adolescent medical and behavioral health services. If your child is hurt or gets sick, we provide urgent care and pediatric sick care services. Because we provide same-day appointments, your child will never have to wait for the care he or she needs!
Take Care of Yourself and Your Spouse or Partner: PrimeCare provides preventive and routine health services, including screenings for cancer and other health problems, routine immunizations and weight management and dietitian services, to keep you healthy. Our providers perform minor surgical procedures as needed, and will give referrals for specialty care to one of our many trusted partners when appropriate. If you need hospitalization, our doctors are on staff at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. We will manage your care in the hospital and coordinate your transition from hospital back to your home and to your “medical home” – PrimeCare!
Focus on your Health as a Woman: Because women often require specialized care, our care teams provide the full range of women’s health services, including gynecological services, basic infertility treatment and women’s wellness screenings, such as referrals for mammograms.
Ensure Health as You Age: As we get older, our health care needs change. PrimeCare provides medical services for older adults such as menopause management, targeted preventive care, specialized vaccines for illnesses that strike adults over 50 particularly hard, such as pneumonia and the flu, as well as support for managing the effects of aging, such as diminishing sight, hearing or mobility.
Manage Your Chronic Illness: While we provide routine, urgent and preventative care for everyone, we are especially concerned about those patients living with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. We will help you identify your risks for developing chronic illness and provide you with the education, strategies and skills you need to manage such diseases. Most important, we will collaborate with you to draw up an action plan that will work, because it’s based on your needs and your preferences. We take into consideration the demands on your time, your cultural values, and your personal priorities for your health. We will help you set goals and give you the tools you need to meet them.
Look After Your Loved Ones: Adults often find that they are responsible for managing someone else’s healthcare – a minor child, an elderly, frail parent, a chronically ill adult who is too sick to manage day-to-day life. Through our Patient Portal we make it easier to act on behalf of those you love by becoming their medical proxy. You can set up appointments for them, ask questions about their medications or condition, request refills and get their test results.
Stay Balanced: Everyday life can cause enormous stress, and loss, trauma and other factors can cause the kind of emotional turmoil that affects health. PrimeCare’s trained, licensed counselors provide individual, couples, and family therapy, as well as counseling for children and adolescents. If you have a chronic problem such as depression or anxiety, or if emotional illness is affecting a physical illness, behavioral health staff works closely with your primary care team to provide you with the support needed. PrimeCare also offers support groups to help people manage the stresses of daily life and make lifestyle changes.
Take Charge of Your Healthcare, Today and Tomorrow: Changes in our lives occur every second and changes in our health can occur when we least expect them. These health changes can be life-altering. When a serious illness or accident occurs, the majority of us are not prepared to make health decisions. PrimeCare staff is trained to help you create advance directives so you can feel confident that your wishes regarding your medical care are known and honored, even when you cannot make decision for yourself.
How do we do this? Our health centers are fully staffed with trained medical professionals, including physicians, nurses, case managers, care coordinators and service support staff. Our Behavioral Health counselors are part of the team at all of our health centers. We use an Electronic Health Record system that makes it easier to coordinate care within your team and our Patient Portal makes it simple for you to reach out to your provider team, learn test results, schedule appointments and request information, renew prescriptions and get referrals.
PrimeCare is a Family Medicine Practice
This is what sets PrimeCare apart. Some physicians specialize in treating one particular disease. Family physicians are uniquely trained to care for you as a whole person, regardless of your age or gender. The cornerstone of Family Medicine is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. You and your family physician will work together to achieve the best possible outcome in the most cost-effective manner.
What is a Family Doctor?
Family physicians are board-certified physicians who must receive continuing medical education and be recertified on a regular basis. Because of this, they are able to stay on the cutting-edge of medicine. They are trained to treat the whole person – every organ, every disease, all ages and all genders — and receive comprehensive training to do just that. After medical school, family physicians completes a formal three-year residency during which they receive training in several major medical areas and patient populations:
- Care for all ages, from infants to elderly
- Care for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease
- Ear, nose and throat care
- Minor surgical procedures
- Mental and behavioral health care
- Bone and joint care
- Eye care
- Urinary system care
- Well-woman care
- Reproductive counseling and family planning
This comprehensive training on multiple aspects of human health make family doctors uniquely qualified to treat the whole patient and the whole family. By seeing a family doctor, you are able to go to one place for all your health concerns. If a condition arises that does require treatment by a specialist, your family doctor will be there to guide you and to coordinate all aspects of your care.
Family doctors are committed to ensuring that you and your loved ones stay healthy. They know that the key to maintaining long-term good health is the patient-physician relationship. That’s why they will take the time to get to know you and your medical history, and to help you make a plan for continued good health.
To learn more about what a family doctor does, click here.
PrimeCare — Your Medical Family Home
As you’ve seen, the Family Practice model is based on a relationship between patient and doctor. PrimeCare has also adopted the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of care, a way of organizing services that emphasizes care coordination and communication to deliver care that is “what patients want it to be.”
Watch this video created by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative to learn more about what a medical home is, and how you can benefit from having one.
The PCMH model takes the foundational aspects of Family Medicine and builds on them:
- Its success relies on building a strong relationship between the patient and health care providers. In Family Medicine, it is the physician. In PCMH, the physician gains the support of an extended health care team that works together to ensure your needs are met.
- A family physician has the skills and training to take care of the whole person. A Patient-Centered Medical Home provides the family doctor with the structure to optimize care, by giving the patient multiple points of contact, easier access to medical advice, more follow-up services and attention to transitions between care settings.
- To ensure continued health, family doctors work with patients to develop individual care plans. The PCMH model provides the patient with multiple supports to help reach the plan’s goals — view a chart of PCMH Team Members or see below for a description of your care team.
- Your patient centered medical home works best if you provide us with a complete medical history and information about all medications you take. Also, let us know if you see a specialist, or go to an emergency room or hospital so we can obtain information from those visits. We can provide you with the best care when we have an up-to-date and accurate medical record for you including: medical history, medications, test results, visits with other providers, and immunization records.
- Since it is so important for patients to understand their medical condition and what they can do to improve their health, we provide patients with educational resources and information about their medical condition after each visit and upon request. We also provide self management support so patients can set and achieve their health goals.
Support for New Patients
Health Center staff will help you select a personal provider and team that best suits your needs, and help you become familiar with how our model of care operates. To learn more about our services for new patients, click here.
Team-based Care Based on Your Needs and Preferences
How You Want It: As part of the PCMH approach, PrimeCare services are offered by a team of trained medical professionals who address the whole person, and involve your family and caregivers in your treatment. This kind of relationship-based care requires understanding and respecting each patient’s unique needs, culture, values and preferences. Your team will also support you and your family in learning to manage and organize your own care at the level you choose.
In Your Language: For our many, many patients who need services in languages other than English, we not only have a multicultural, multilingual staff, we also make available the full range of translation services needed to ensure you can communicate fully with your team. Ask your care team about our translation services for Spanish-speaking, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian patients. Do you speak a language other than those or English? Just let us know and we will have a translator in the language of your country of origin available on the day and time of your visit.
Who’s On Your Team?
First and foremost: You. Our patients are our partners. We rely on you to actively participate in your care by telling your provider team about your needs and preferences. Through face-to-face visits, and by communicating with your team via our Patient Portal, we encourage candid, continuing communication that enables us to know best how to serve you. Of special importance is working with your care team to develop a care plan that contains goals you can reach, and to develop the self-management skills needed to take charge of your own health care.
In addition to you, the team includes:
- A provider, who leads the care team and provides for all of your primary care needs
- A medical assistant care coordinator, who will respond to your questions, help with specialty referrals and assist with your follow up after a hospitalization or emergency room visit
- A behavioral health professional, who coordinates your care for depression and other conditions, and works with you to support management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes
- A case manager, who assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors and evaluates options and services to meet your needs, and connects you to community resources.
- A nurse care manager, who works with you on addressing complex chronic issues by setting goals and developing a self-management plan, for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure , depression, and asthma. The care manager also supports your follow up after a hospitalization or emergency room visit.
- An Enrollment and Access Specialist, who assists you in negotiating the complex issues surrounding health coverage and maximizes your ability to get needed services
At Your Convenience…
PrimeCare makes care available when you need it: You can get appointments during regular business hours or evening and weekend appointments. See your location to find out about their evening and weekend hours. Oftentimes, you will be able to get a same-day or next-day appointment at a time that’s convenient for you. You can make appointments using our Patient Portal, by phone, or right here on this website. Click here for information about making appointments.
You can also get advice about your health when our centers are open, after hours, and on weekends. Click here for information on accessing advice.