October 25, 2014
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Hospital partners with Thundermist to provide better family medicine
Elisha Kay Aldrich
IT’S OFFICIAL: Chuck Jones and Dennis Keefe shake hands after signing an agreement between Kent Hospital and Thundermist.

Doctors in residence at Kent Hospital will have a chance to get a hands-on learning experience thanks to Kent’s new partnership with Thundermist Health Center in West Warwick. The residency program announced at Thundermist on Tuesday also allows an opportunity for patients to receive higher quality health care.

Supported through funding from the Rhode Island Foundation, the partnership, named Thundermist Family Medicine Residency, partnering with Care New England for a Healthier Community, gives patients access to services such as psychiatric care, dental care, behavioral health, patient education, nurse care management, and financial assistance with prescriptions.

According to Chuck Jones, CEO at Thundermist, there are three main benefits of the partnership. The first is that the staff is now in a position to train medical residents from Kent Hospital in an innovative health setting; the second is that they can secure a more sustainable pipeline of staff; and finally, they can further energize the spirit of their mission to provide the highest quality health care.

“This partnership between Thundermist and Care New England creates an opportunity, for the first time in Rhode Island, for new physicians to be trained on the patient-centered model in an advanced, community health center setting,” said Jones. “This collaboration will not only provide a unique training opportunity for these physicians but ensure that Rhode Island continues to attract the best of the best to our primary care physician workforce for years to come.”

Dennis Keefe, president and CEO of Care New England, agreed.

“It is critically important that we continue to find new and innovative ways to deliver care in our community. It’s about coordinating care in every way we can across Rhode Island. We are all in this together. We are not going to create a better health care system in Rhode Island without working together.”

Keefe also spoke about the importance of innovating ways of delivering health care and educating future physicians.

“Working collaboratively across health care with new partners while developing new and innovative approaches such as this is essential as we continually work to transform the future of health care in the state and beyond. It makes sense to train students in the health care of tomorrow, not of the past. Every aspect of this makes phenomenal sense to me,” he said.

Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, also spoke about the partnership. The Rhode Island Foundation provided Thundermist with an $80,000 grant to assist with funding the project.

“Programs like this that improve the health of our communities while enhancing training for medical residents are an integral part of our goal to strengthen our state’s primary care system and ensure that Rhode Islanders have access to quality care,” he said.

Joe Spinale, who is the medical education director at Kent Hospital, was pleased with the partnership.

“The future is right here and now,” he said. “There are new ways of delivering health care, and that exists in Rhode Island.”

Those participating in the Family Medicine Residency Program will train under the supervision of Drs. Jessica Manyan and Elisabeth Farnum. These residents will take up one-third of the clinical space at Thundermist, giving them a hands-on training experience.


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