Dr. Daysi Baez and Dr. Saulius J. Skeivys
We are pleased to share that two NYC REACH Members, Dr.
Daysi Baez and Dr. Saulius J. Skeivys, were named 2020
Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions! This recognition
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarded to health care
providers who reach over 80% control rates among their patients with
hypertension. Drs. Baez and Skeivys worked with NYC REACH practice facilitators
on the HealthyHearts NYC program and other quality improvement projects to
improve patient outcomes.
NYC REACH practice facilitators help clinicians identify areas for improvement by generating and assessing practice-level data on hypertension control and other chronic disease concerns. With this support, clinicians are free to focus on patient care and make structural changes in their practice to benefit every patient. This approach has shown that quality data combined with quality care significantly improves patient outcomes. Practice facilitators continued working with NYC REACH members during the pandemic and supported them through the expansion of telehealth and challenges with technology, billing, and continuity of care.
Dr. Baez: My experience was great; my practice facilitator was always very helpful and on time for all tasks requested. Without their help, would not achieve my goals. And since I have a patient-centered medical home practice it is more organized, focused, and problem oriented.
Dr. Skeivys: Working with NYC REACH made hypertension of paramount importance in the practice.
Dr. Baez: During COVID-19, I am always in touch with my patients by phone also video. I never closed my office. My EHR reminds patients about their appointments and if they are a no-show, we call them to reschedule them. It was patient preference or availability by their phones. We informed the patients about the service by calling the scheduled patients that already had an appointment or if they call the office.
Dr. Skeivys: Staff calls confirming appointments and I answer all patient telephone calls personally.
Dr. Skeivys: Learn what their natural patterns at home are and ease a new medical issue into it.
Dr. Baez: My staff and myself always talk to patients about making changes to their diet and exercise and explain the benefits. For my patients with hypertension, there is always a dialogue about benefits of low salt diet and taking medications.
Dr. Skeivys: By showing results and reasons for medications.
Dr. Baez: I always give a 90-day supply to ensure compliance with medications.
Dr. Skeivys: Inactivity and weight gain are real issues, but the general fear of the unknown effects and the tragedy of the loss of loved ones is pronounced, as are the residual post-COVID ill-effects like weakness that people have to deal with. Encouraging is that vaccination seems to help with post-COVID maladies.
Dr. Baez: The challenges during COVID-19 are the inactivity and weight gained due to lack of exercise. This translates to slight changes in hypertension control and other conditions like diabetes and hyperlipidemia. I am telling them to eat healthy and move around daily and the benefits of doing so.
Dr. Baez: Telehealth it is a great tool and keeps me in touch with my patients during the dark days of the pandemic. It is effective for hypertension management – as long as they have a blood pressure monitor at home we can do it together.
Dr.Skeivys: My patients have had 24hr phone access to me for the last 20 years. My patients are making many calls for information about the pandemic, about what to do, about quarantine issues, and the like.
Dr. Baez: My staff is very motivated in helping my patients during all this time and giving them hope that things will get better soon. I am very optimistic that it will get better and always express those feelings to my staff. I show my appreciation for their great work, especially since they all stayed with me all this time. Showing up every day to work – risking getting sick – that showed me their devotion and passion to what they do. I am so thankful for them.
Drs. Baez and Skeivys join six other NYC REACH Members who received the Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champion award: Dr. Jia Hong, Dr. Terence Hsuih, Dr. Himanshu Patel, Dr. Jigar Patel, Dr. Shelly Shi, and Dr. Mark Tsinker.