New Chief Medical Officer At Highland Medical Center – Part 2

In Part 2 of our interview with the Highland Medical Center’s new Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Beverage, she talks about the responsibilities of her job.

“First and foremost, I still do want to see patients. I won’t see patients every day, all day long, because there are so many administrative tasks, but by seeing patients too, I’m also using all the systems that we have in place to see if there are areas that need improvement or if there are concerns from the community, I’m experiencing that as well.”

“In addition to seeing patients, I make sure that the medical team is practicing at national level standards of care, overseeing those processes and making sure that we’re keeping up to date. But then I also keep in touch with the Behavioral Health team, and that we have available appointments and that patient’s needs are being met, and working with that team to ensure that they’re also meeting those national standards of care. We look at the lab, things that we can offer at HMC – so strep tests are a good example, or COVID testings, and there’s certain certifications that we have to have in order to do that, and making sure that that’s correct and that we’re following the appropriate procedures for this specific testing and all the parameters.

She continued, “I review the vaccines that are available at the clinic, and make sure that we have age appropriate vaccines, and how we’re going to administer, and then there’s just a lot of paperwork to make sure everybody’s up to date on all of the certifications that they’re requiring, so that if there’s an emergency I know that everyone is trained and knows the standards of care and where we keep things –  so we do some practice scenarios to make sure we are familiar with that.”

“And I also interact with the physical therapy and dental teams on the same basis, to make sure that we’re meeting the community needs, and that we are practicing to their standards of care, and just open communication between all the areas. So I’m sort of that liaison for all the care teams in the clinic.”

Dr. Beverage also has experience managing Federally Qualified Health Centers, such as HMC, and she explained more about those.

“So as a FQHC, you have to meet certain specifications and part of it is based on your location, and the number of medical providers and medical benefits available to the patient’s demographic.”

“What we find in some of the more rural locations for a FQHC is that the dollars are a little different for the funding, so that we’re able to have clinics like HMC available to anyone regardless of their income and expand on what practices we have. And, you know, we’re very fortunate to say, at HMC, not only have the primary care medical team, but to have behavioral health, dental, physical therapy, all in one location, and then you know that, even with insurance, you can still apply for sliding scales to determine, based on your family size and your income, can we make sure that you can afford the health care that you need.”

She continued, “And the ultimate goal, in the end, is to make sure that we’re reaching everyone to get the preventative care so that we help decrease illness and injury, such things as with well child exams to catch any illnesses earlier, or to talk to them about healthy eating and exercise, the amount of screen time; and then immunizations, to help prevent additional pandemics; mammography, when we get to bring the mammo-bus over and make it easier for women to get their mammograms; colon cancer screening is another option; but then preventative medicine on the dental side so that we can make sure that we’re taking care of dental health, which affects the medical health as well.”

“So it’s just opening up access to the community in a more affordable way than a for-profit organization who isn’t necessarily going to be afforded to that same kind of sliding fee discount.”

Stay tuned for Part 3 of our conversation.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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