Media Releases

Effort towards patient-centered medical home pays off with designation

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PCMHHANCOCK – The effort of Portage Health over the past two years was rewarded this week as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan designated three Portage Health clinics as patient-centered medical home (PCMH) clinics.

“This is a program we’ve been heavily focused on since 2009,” said Dr. Kirk Lufkin, chief medical officer at Portage Health. “Nothing like this happens without a massive group effort.”

Portage Health Pediatrics, Hancock Family Practice and Houghton Family Practice (located in the University Center location) all received the designation.

“Each of these clinics showed tremendous improvement in the PCMH mission over the last year,” said Lufkin, who credited much of the change to electronic medical records. “We did well because of our transition to the EMR. It’s an incredibly powerful tool and we’re still in the early stages with it.”

The electronic medical records will allow doctors to easily see who needs preventative measures such as mammograms, and then easily contact those patients.

To earn the (PCMH) designation, Portage Health primary care clinics, focused on a checklist of 126 capabilities, while also having to meet performance measures determined by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“This designation is a huge success story for Portage Health and the entire community,” Lufkin said. “The more things like this that we do, the healthier our community is and the stronger local healthcare can become.”

Portage Health Pediatrics includes Anas Jaber, MD, Rajanee Sripaipan, MD and Colleen Vallad-Hix, DO. The Hancock Family Practice includes William Anderson, MD, David Kass, MD, Doug McKenzie, MD, Mercedes Maki, PA and Cynthia Blake, NP. The Houghton Family Practice includes Audrey Liston, DO, Allison Helman, DO, Bruce Trusock, MD and Melissa Becker, PA.

For more information about patient-centered medical home visit

Five vital tips for a safe Copper Country summer

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As plans are made for another beautiful summer in the Keweenaw, Portage Health wants to remind residents and visitors of the importance of safety by providing five vital tips for a safe and enjoyable summer. Vicki Peterson, manager of Portage Health Trauma Program, generated the following tips:

Sunlight1.    Protect from the sun. While the warm temperatures provide limitless fun, especially near the water, those areas can be the most damaging for skin as ultraviolet radiation exposure can cause serios burn in the short term and skin problems in the long run. Wear sunscreen and if possible shield your body, especially children.
2.    Drink plenty of water. Heat exhaustion shows up more and more often as the days get warmer, especially for athletes. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water on your next bike ride (and a helmet), or have a cooler ready for the kids as they spend a full day playing at the playground.
3.    Always swim safely. We have plenty of beautiful swimming holes in the Copper Country, but we can’t forget when we use them to be safe. Always swim with at least one other person and be sure to stay within the safe limits of the short, a boat or some other floatation device. Also, be aware of underwater obstructions.
4.    Be cautious with fire. Whether it’s fireworks for the Fourth of July or a bonfire at the camp, fire is a common form of entertainment in the Copper Country. However, it’s also a common reason for people to visit the emergency room. Make sure to keep a safe distance and exercise caution.
5.    Practice safe boating. Leaving the shore without the proper amount of lifejackets is not only illegal, but also extremely dangerous. One jacket per person will keep all passengers safe in case the worst happens. It’s also important to remember drinking and boating isn’t any safe than drinking and driving.


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