North Carolina is My Home, and Now it’s Cityblock’s
Tiffany Joyner, Hub Operations Director, Cityblock Health
Health care may be local, but caring is personal. North Carolina is my home, and the needs of my community are real to me. I know the challenges of people who feel marginalized by the system, and I work to help them get medical and social services to live healthier lives. Nothing is as urgent as a person in need, and nothing is as important as making a difference in that person’s life. It’s my “why.” As the Hub Operations Director for Cityblock, I ensure my fellow North Carolinians are supported and cared for through health and social services.
On July 1st, we opened five clinics (or as we call them, “community hubs”) to serve eligible members of Blue Cross NC’s Healthy Blue Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans. Cityblock will deliver medical care, behavioral health, and social services virtually, in-home, and in community-based clinics — at no extra cost to members.
The program launch comes at a critical time. In a 2020 report, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine found that 38 of 100 counties in NC do not meet the recommended ratio of one primary care provider per 1,500 residents. Cityblock and its community partners will work to fill these gaps in care, serving approximately 20,000 members through Cityblock hubs in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, High Point, Fayetteville, and Greensboro. These locations and the members they serve are more than numbers to me. They’re real people, with real lives. We’ll be treating children in a program for pediatric care, as well as providing maternity supports for birthing people, bringing a more complete continuum of care to people’s well-being. As a part of our pregnancy care program, our Community Health partners — a team member who’s been hired from within the community — will receive specialized training, including training to become a certified doula.
In a traditional healthcare program in North Carolina, it can be difficult for an individual to experience coordinated, whole-person care. Many have multiple doctors and case managers for social needs who do not work as an integrated team, so it becomes the patient’s job to coordinate their care. It overwhelms patients and oftentimes inhibits them from seeking care. In contrast, each Cityblock member will be connected with a Community Health partner who will get to know them, create a personalized care plan, and connect them with the appropriate providers and resources. The team of providers will provide medical and behavioral health care, address ongoing health issues, coordinate medical, behavioral health and social services providers, and identify and support social needs through assessments including home visits. It’s the approach of a full care team rallying around an individual.
One’s physical health and the social factors that drive health rarely exist separately from each other. Creating a program that will bring both of them to the patient’s doorstep can improve the lives of so many people who struggle with the current healthcare system. Cityblock’s ethos — Put Members First — will bring to North Carolina what we’ve established in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC.
As we’ve learned, developing trust is the essential first step towards engaging Medicaid members. It’s where local people like me come in, making sure that outreach specialists are contacting members, and letting them know we’re working with the providers and agencies they need. Though we assess the needs of a larger population, it’s important never to lose sight that the challenges people face are individual, so the solutions we offer must be personal. I’m excited to be serving a community where I believe that approach will help make all the difference.