El Rio Community Health Center

Dental Video

Jack on El Rio
Learn about El Rio's Dental Program

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Diabetes Management Video

Ernest on El Rio
Learn about El Rio's Pharmacy-based Diabetes Management Program

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El Rio is an integrated health care system that recognizes and responds to the whole person from physical to social to psychological needs. Our health care team addresses the primary health care needs of our patients. El Rio works with other health and human service organizations to provide a continuum of care for those we serve.

El Rio's Inner-City Asthma Intervention Program is a free program for El Rio pediatric and young adult patients. The program includes: Asthma education for parents and children; free allergy testing; free breathing tests; free spacer peak flow meter ; pillow and mattress cover. Developed in collaboration with The University of Arizona, El Rio's Inner-City Asthma Program provides life-saving medication and equipment, as well as preventive education, for asthmatic children from low-income families. The program has contributed to a 80 percent reduction in emergency room visits to two Tucson hospitals. The program model is unique in that it comprehensively assesses the full range of environmental triggers for each child, designs customized treatments and interventions while educating children and their parents in their effective use. The program includes bilingual/bicultural classes and individual counseling to empower families to provide quality care for their children with asthma.

Community Health Advisors
Community Health Advisors offer a range of services to address the medical, psychological, and social needs of the patient. They are the liaison between the internal and external social services to ensure the continuity of patient care throughout the El Rio system and various community agencies.

Dental Programs

El Rio operates the largest non-profit dental clinic in the State of Arizona, with more than 40,000 treatment visits per year. According to the Arizona Department of Oral Health, 36% of children, 44% of adults and 67% of seniors in our state have no dental coverage.

El Rio is committed to the overall health of our patients and works to ensure that they have accessible and affordable options regarding oral health care. The need for dental care for low-income adults has become even more critical since AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), the state’s Medicaid agency, eliminated all emergency dental services – leaving patients to suffer with unnecessary tooth pain. Fortunately, El Rio’s Dental Partnership Program offers free emergency extractions and fillings to qualified patients.

El Rio's Fluoride Varnish Program works to significantly reduce the incidence of early childhood cavities in children. Children are given a free oral health assessment and fluoride varnish treatment by a dental hygienist while they wait for their pediatric appointment. El Rio educates families on the importance of oral health and encourages families to establish care at El Rio’s dental department.

El Rio also serves as a training site for several educational institutions:

  • Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York - Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency Program This is an American Dental Association accredited program that provides an extra year of clinical and didactic training in general dentistry, including implant placement and restoration. El Rio has been a training site since 1995 and accepts five residents per year for this one-year training program. During the last accreditation cycle in 2003, El Rio (along with Lutheran Medical Center and the other Arizona training sites) received five accommodations for the AEGD Program due to its unique and innovative model.
  • A.T. Still University – Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH) – El Rio serves as a clinical training site for 4th year dental students who do 4-6 week clinical rotations. This exposes the dental students to the clinical uniqueness of Community Health Dentistry  - ASDOH is a Public Health Dental School. ASOD students graduate with a certificate in Dental Public Health. This course work is actually two thirds of a Masters Degree in Public Health. Some of the ASDOH graduates go on to finish the last third of the required course material to obtain their Masters in Dental Public Health.
  • Pediatric Dentistry Specialty / Training Residency In conjunction with Lutheran Medical Center, El Rio will become a training site for a Pediatric Dentistry Specialty Training Program starting July 1, 2010.  This is a two year program involving eights (8) residents
    (four first year residents and four second year residents). Part of the training is hospital based. Residents will be doing part of their hospital based training at the Diamond Children’s Hospital located on the campus of the University Medical Center.

Health-e-Arizona is a web-based enrollment application for public insurance and community discount health care programs. It was developed by El Rio Community Health Center through a unique public/private partnership involving AHCCCS, Arizona Department of Economic Security, the Community Health Centers Collaborative Ventures, and Deloitte Consulting. Health-e-Arizona is designed to quickly and easily determine eligibility for benefits, improve coordination of care, and reduce duplication of services. To learn more about Health-e-Arizona, visit their website at: http://www.healthearizona.org

The Health Education (T.H.E.) Project - Volunteers Welcome!
The Health Education Project recruits, trains and places volunteers to provide health, wellness and life skill classes to people who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless. We have over 40 prepared curricula that are welcomed by the people staying at homeless or domestic violence centers, substance abuse rehabilitation centers, and correctional institutions. The volunteers provide information that encourages self-care and healthy choices in order to interrupt the cycle of poverty, homelessness and violence. We can always use caring, committed and knowledgeable people to teach classes or assist in the coordination of materials in the office. Please contact Diane at 256-2874 or dianeh@elrio.org to learn more about this impactful program! To volunteer at The Health Education Project, visit our program web site.

Hepatitis C Clinic
The El Rio Hepatitis C Clinic was established to improve the quality of care for patients disproportionately affected by Hepatitis C, a chronic viral infection of the liver that causes cirrhosis, liver failure and sometimes liver cancer. Education and support groups are offered to those we serve.

Free immunization clinics are available to registered El Rio pediatric patients. For more information on El Rio Community Health Center's Pediatric Immunization Program, please contact 670-3893.

KidsCare Outreach
El Rio Community Health Center accepts all health plans under KidsCare. KidsCare is Arizona's State Health Insurance Program for qualified children under 19 years of age. KidsCare was established for children of working, poor parents. Designed to be affordable, a premium is based on family income and the number of children who qualify. Children 18 years old or younger who qualify for KidsCare can receive medical, dental and vision care coverage. There are several health plans to choose from in every county. For the most recent information on qualification criteria and KidsCare health plans, visit the KidsCare website http://www.kidscare.state.az.us/.

Komen Funded Self Help Program for Breast Cancer Survivors

Un Abrazo Para la Familia is a new program that offers self help skills and education to Latina breast cancer survivors and their families. Three classes offer skills in coping with cancer and care giving; understanding depression; resolving problems and emotional help. The program is led by Dr. Catherine Marshall and Lorena Verdugo, community health advisor and is funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Southern Arizona.

Pharmacy-Based Diabetes Clinic
El Rio's Pharmacy-Based Diabetes Clinics located at the Congress, Pascua and El Pueblo clinics offers a unique, award-winning approach to diabetes management using clinical pharmacists to provide comprehensive medical treatment based on effective drug regimens. The program has three distinctive features: 1) increased direct service to patients involving intensive and ongoing consultation with a clinical pharmacist (in Spanish, when needed); 2) integrated treatment of three related diseases (diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol); and 3) in-depth information and education which empowers patients to proactively manage their health.
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Pima Community Access Program (PCAP)
Qualified participants pay an enrollment fee of $40 twice a year to participate. Beyond the enrollment fee, participants pay only when they use services. Most primary care is provided on a discounted sliding fee scale. A specialist consultation is $30. Specialty treatment costs 35-50% of what Medicare would pay for that treatment. If a member needs to be admitted to a hospital, it costs $500 a day for medical/surgical care and $700 for intensive care, with a maximum of $2000 for any hospital stay. Prior authorizations are not required, and there are no insurance forms to fill out or insurance plan requirements to meet. For additional information about PCAP, please visit their website at: http://www.mypcap.org/index.php or you can call them at (520) 694-0418.

Reach Program
Through the University Of Arizona National Center Of Excellence in Women's Health, El Rio is participating in a community-wide cervical cancer prevention program for Mexican-American and other minority women. Activities include school-based parent education about HPV vaccination, patient navigators for women with abnormal screenings.

Reach Out ReadReach Out Read Program - Volunteer Opportunity
At well-child visits, from 6 months to 5 years, El Rio doctors and nurses provide information about the importance of reading aloud and give new, developmentally appropriate books to the children to take home. Physicians discuss the importance of daily reading to preschool children to help their language development. Volunteers model reading of books to young children in the waiting areas. Approximately 11,000 books are given free of charge to children each year through El Rio's pediatric clinics. To volunteer call (520) 449-3339.

Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS)

El Rio's Special Immunology Associates (SIA) has been recognized as a national leader in the provision of innovative and effective treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS and has been awarded three separate grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau to conduct Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS).  The SPNS programs are designed to advance knowledge and skills in the delivery of health and support services to underserved populations diagnosed with HIV infection. 

In 2004, SIA was awarded the Russell E. Brady award for Innovations in Care from the HIV/AIDS Bureau of HRSA. 
El Rio SIA was the lead agency for the Arizona Border HIV/AIDS Coalition that provided outreach and services to high risk and HIV infected persons along the Arizona-Mexico border.  The second grant was for the prevention with positives initiative to increase healthy behaviors and reduce the risk of transmission.  The third SPNS project (which ended in 2009) was an investigation into the use of Buprenorphine as an alternative to methadone for treating opioid dependence among HIV positive individuals in a primary care setting.

Sembrando Nuestro Manana (Sowing Our Tomorrow)
Sembrando Nuestro Manana is a one-on-one nutrition counseling and diabetes education program. The program is tailored to the specific healthcare needs of the individual patient. Patients work with the program manager, who is a bilingual, registered dietician. Through regular follow-up appointments with her patients, she is able to monitor the progress of their diabetes and ensure that their diabetes is controlled and complications are prevented. She works closely with patients' health care provider to recommend new medications, adjust current treatment plans, make referrals to health care specialists, and ensure that all lab work is up-to-date.

Sunnyside TeenAge Parent Program (TAPP)
TAPP is a multi-disciplinary approach involving health care, medical care, parenting education and formal school education. An El Rio nurse-midwife provides health services for students at all middle and high schools in the district. The nurse-midwife also provides reproduction health services (for those students who do not want to visit the High School Clinic) at El Rio Southwest Teen Clinic on Bilby Road. Sunnyside maintains an on-campus infant daycare center. The mothers return to school two weeks after a (healthy) delivery and the mother/father attend classes and take breaks/lunch in the infant care center with their child. At the age of one year, the child can attend the regular daycare center on campus.

Ventanilla de Salud
The Ventanilla de Salud (VDS) program is a unique partnership between the US-Mexican Border Health Commission, Mexican Consulate and local Community Health Centers. VDS is staffed by Community Health Worker who provides critical health prevention, education at community outreach events and referral information to people receiving services at Mexican Consulates in cities throughout America. For more information call (520) 882-5595, ext. 122

WICWomen, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
The WIC Program provides nutritious food to qualified women who are pregnant, nursing or who have just delivered; infants and children under the age of five. The goal of the WIC Program is to prevent health problems and/or improve the health of its participants during critical times of growth and development. The Program is committed to helping participants improve their health through better nutrition and nutrition education. El Rio provides monthly WIC benefits to 2500 participants. To learn more about El Rio's WIC Program, please call (520) 670-3824.