Club Red Clinic offers preventive care for women with cardiovascular risk factors

January 01, 2016

According to Anne Hedelt, a nurse practitioner and clinic co-director, the SMA curriculum is now expanding to include hands-on experiences, like using exercise equipment, learning dance steps or participating in cooking demonstrations. "We are moving beyond just telling patients about changes they can make to giving them a direct experience of the new behaviors or skills we're suggesting," she says.

The clinic's staff encourages SMA participants to develop a "community of support" and "accountability partners." They are welcomed to bring a female family member or friend with them to group visits. To ensure privacy and create a sense of safety in the group, everyone signs a confidentiality agreement at the start of each session.

At Club Red Clinic, SMAs typically begin with blood pressure checks and other individual exams. These usually take place in the group setting, but are done privately, when requested. During each 90-minute session, patients receive medical care, have prescriptions changed or refilled, obtain answers to their questions and concerns and discuss treatment options as well as various health and lifestyle topics. The cost of attending an SMA is equal to a regular office visit. Typical insurance co-pays apply.

"First-time participants are generally surprised at how comfortable and supported they feel in the group and how much individual attention they receive," Hedelt observes. "Patients appreciate the new ideas and reinforcement offered by the group, the sharing and laughter that occurs, and the camaraderie they develop with others who have the same risk factors."

Another way that Club Red Clinic is leveraging its expertise and specialized services is through collaborations with PCPs. "We can provide an extra level of support that patients may need but PCPs cannot offer. By helping patients make and sustain heart-healthy lifestyle changes, we supplement the work of their primary care physicians," Dr. Tucker explains.