Committed to Safety Net Care

  • Published On  May 1, 2018
  • Publication  Illinois Medicine Magazine
  • Author  Rose Shilling


Alumnus helped transform medical services in Chicago community, now works citywide. 

ART JONES, MD ’79, has transformed the health infrastructure of Chicago, first at the neighborhood level and more recently citywide.

Jones teamed with a pastor, Wayne Gordon, whom he met his third year of medical school, to bring quality care to a hardscrabble Chicago neighborhood that badly needed it.

They founded Lawndale Christian Health Center in 1984, and Jones
helped build it from a shoestring clinic into a safety net for North Lawndale,
the community where he lived for 35 years.

The health center, which launched thanks to countless volunteer hours in a former Cadillac dealership building, has grown to serve 164,800 visits annually, providing a wide range of services, various satellite clinics, a fitness center, a café and dental offices.

Jones, now a principal at Health Management Associates consulting, has continued his focus on improving Medicaid-based services by helping found a collective of 23 hospitals and more than 300 primary-care providers, called the Medical Home Network, who work together to improve basic care in Chicago.

Partners in the nonprofit network share information through an Internet portal, giving medical staff a more complete picture of patients’ health history with alerts, historical data and behavioral and social determinants of their health. Care coordinators contact patients who receive emergency room treatment to connect them with primary care physicians and any needed specialists for follow-up visits and routine care.

“Having access to real-time information and up-to-the minute details pertaining to each patient’s health care utilization is invaluable,” says Jones, who serves as the collective’s chief medical officer.

Participants have experienced financial savings, declines in hospital readmissions, and increases in timely follow-up appointments with primary care doctors. And Jones has shared his expertise by speaking across the country about how to redesign care in low-income and underinsured communities.

Check out page 35 in the online edition.

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