Last Friday, officials and locals gathered with doctors and other health professionals to celebrate the grand opening of the new Casey Health Institute (CHI) in Gaithersburg. The CHI, described as an integrative primary care center, seeks to provide the best possible health services to patients by focusing on ways to improve overall health and providing preventative treatment to try to avert illness before it starts.
The ideals behind the CHI include not only improving how health care is administered, but improving the economic feasibility of that care, especially in light of the long-time growing costs of health care, which in the U.S. costs more than any other developed country yet often produces worse results.
“We traveled around the country looking at sustainable health centers,” said Dr. David Fogel, the CEO of the CHI. “We put together all the concepts that seemed to be working.”
The institute plans to also reach out to the underserved in the wider community, not only in Gaithersburg, and by looking for ways to use less expensive treatments and more effective preventative medicine, lessen how much any patient needs to spend.
Part of improving health care is having all of the different doctors involved with a patient under one roof, interacting with each other and the patient. Communicating and sharing records improves the outcomes for patients according to many of the speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We are really collaborative,” said Dr. Ilana Bar-Levav, CHI’s COO at the opening ceremony. She described how different specialist doctors would come together to discuss a patient, ensuring that any treatment plan would work to the overall benefit of the patient because all of the doctors would know more.
Another part of the overall wellness treatment program now run at the institute is the Wellness Center. For both patients and the public, the center offers classes on nutrition, fitness, stress reduction and other important health issues, as well as providing treatment through acupuncture, massage therapy and more complementary medical programs.
“We are very proud that we are going to save so many lives right here in this building,” said Gaithersburg mayor Sidney Katz.
In his remarks to the assembled group, he talked about the importance of medical research and the kinds of innovative treatments that the CHI plans to offer. In recognition of that fact, he and the city council had declared that day was officially Casey Health Institute Day, displaying the signed proclamation of that fact.
“We are figuring out this model together, step by step,” Fogel said, talking about how the institute wants to adapt and respond to changing understandings of health and wellness and the individual patients need. “It’s really a wild West of medicine out here,” he said.