Modern medicine has many and varied opportunities for development. A particular case is small medical organizations, which, thanks to the work of employees and state funding, are becoming more prominent and changing direction. This allows organizations to provide better medical services and treat more people. An example of such an organization is a community-based clinic. The purpose of this paper is to describe the course of its development from the volunteer-run community crisis-care center.
One of the organization’s most important missions is to provide affordable medical services to different segments of the population. Previously, this center was exclusively dedicated to working with patients in crisis. In other words, volunteers could only help people when their illness was already at a severe stage. After the restructuring and development of the clinic, treatment became available to those whose condition had not yet become acute but who already needed help.
In general, the clinic does not have a separate medical specialization. However, medically underserved people are an essential group of patients. These are those who do not have enough funds for treatment or those who have specific insurance issues. Indeed, these people need medical attention, sometimes even more than people in a stable financial situation. As a result, the level of health in society as a whole is growing, and people can afford medicine without high costs, whereas they did not have access to it before.
The leaders set several goals for development. They can be measured in quantitative terms related to funding and patient numbers. First, the clinic needed to achieve 1000 new uninsured and underinsured patients and provide 6000 visits to such patients per year. It also needed to raise at least $1 million for the area’s medical system. Another important goal was to carry out 2,500 immunizations every year (Filipovitch, 2006). This would reduce the overall incidence rate and, as a consequence, reduce the number of emergencies.
Another important goal of the organization was to lower the number of urgent calls to 900. The way to achieve this is to serve patients early, which would prevent diseases from becoming severe. To do this, it is necessary to work with patients with chronic diseases regularly. In addition, the hospital managers intended to conduct a medication assistance program. Moreover, the clinic was to become a more multicultural and free place thanks to cultural and linguistic changes.
These goals are primarily due to charitable factors. Before the development of the clinic, few people without insurance could afford the treatment they needed. They went to the clinic only in the most challenging crises, which negatively affected their health. In addition, representatives of different cultures could not go to the clinic due to their linguistic peculiarities. Consequently, the clinic needed to change to be able to help more people in need.
After spending three years working on the clinic, the leaders received the following results. First, they achieved their primary goal, turning the volunteer organization into a full-fledged institution with property (Filipovitch, 2006). The clinic began to receive more help from the hospital in the community, hired full-time staff and increased workers’ salaries.
These results were decisive in the functioning of the clinic. For example, having a building on the property gives the ability to accommodate a patient while not being afraid that there will not be enough money for rent or the building will be taken away. In addition, raising wages, while difficult for managers, is a significant motivating factor for workers. This makes them feel more in demand and less worried about their well-being. This allows them to work more productively and invest more in their work.
Good results were also obtained in the area of work with patients. The clinic received three times as many cases. At the same time, the clinic heads were able to reduce the costs of working with patients. In addition, these patients were allowed to control chronic diseases with the help of professional medical workers. Clinic leaders continue to apply for other grants to keep developing.
The environment has had a significant impact on the work of the organization. On the one hand, the presence of many uninsured people became the reason for its development. Because of this, the leaders decided to help these people and come up with ways to implement this idea. On the other hand, government assistance is an essential factor. It allowed making qualitative changes in the clinic and completely changing its functioning.
Undoubtedly, it is not easy for nonprofit organizations to exist even in a positive environment. In any case, they have to make an effort to find funding and attract patients. However, in any case, even this “struggle for survival” allows managers to find new means of interacting with the environment. They become more adaptable and ready for any challenge.
The clinic receives positive feedback about the work from the environment. In particular, patients are satisfied with the conditions of interaction with the clinic. They finally have the opportunity to receive affordable and high-quality medical services. Thanks to this, their quality of life is improved, and they can focus on essential things. Government agencies also leave positive feedback on the work of the clinic. They are ready to invest in it to ensure the continued functioning of the institution and improve the quality of its work.
Despite the positive aspects, there is some uncertainty in the environment of the clinic, which cannot but affect its condition. In particular, this includes the constant need to seek external funding. At the same time, according to the researchers, not every state fund, which the clinic heads turn to, chooses it for investments. As a consequence, this uncertainty in fundraising makes it difficult for the clinic to develop. Leaders always need to save money, which can come in handy in a difficult situation if funding is not available. However, despite this, they use the available funds wisely and try to use all possible funding sources.
At the moment, the clinic does not have a specific internal structure. It has thirty-seven employees. They include a physician, two interpreters, an office manager, and a computer specialist (Filipovitch, 2006). Thus, the structure of the enterprise can be divided into three main parts. The first is medical, which refers directly to working with people, treatment, and communication. The second is the administrative one, which is responsible for the management, documentation, and other issues that support the clinic’s functioning. The third is technical, necessary for the proper equipping of the organization and introducing new valuable technologies.
This model of the organization’s functioning can be called a process model. The manager manages each “owner” of a particular process, and they, in turn, distribute responsibilities among the rest of the employees and at the same time work themselves. The advantage of this model is undeniable: the senior manager is aware of every process in the company and can make big strategic decisions. At the same time, they should not perform work that is not peculiar to them and go into the details of the work of each individual employee. However, in the situation described, this system may be unstable. Most of the staff are healthcare professionals, so more senior managers or healthcare professionals are needed to manage them. At the same time, for example, the technical department is underdeveloped, which slows down the organization’s development and does not allow it to use all modern technological capabilities.
In my opinion, the clinic is now at a stage of growth. Undoubtedly, it had long passed the initial development period, when it attracted the first customers and employees and learned from mistakes. However, it cannot yet be called a full-fledged mature organization. The clinic now lacks confidence, and the structural organization needs to be improved. Once these details have been worked out and a steady, growing visitor flow emerges, the clinic can be considered mature.
The growth stage is one of the most essential and exciting stages in the development of the clinic. On the one hand, managers already have enough experience and funds to function stably and implement new ideas. On the other hand, not being mature enough, the clinic has an increased level of risk. It deals with competition, fundraising, employee loyalty, and patient flow. Therefore, it is necessary to look for any means to develop and maintain the achieved results. Thanks to this, the clinic staff will be able to achieve sufficient stability and confidence in the organization’s future.
According to the author, the climate in the organization has always been healthy and friendly. The culture of the organization is based on mutual help, support, and productive interaction. Thanks to this, the employees manage to develop and change the clinic for the better. They also set an example for other organizations in related areas. This promotes a positive atmosphere in the clinic and even helps patients feel better.
Over time, the clinic’s culture has changed somewhat, but not so much that the basis of work has become entirely different. Indeed, due to the growth of the team, some employees could become distant from each other. It is difficult to maintain such a large organization without team-building events. However, despite this, workers are busy with a common goal that helps others. It ties them together and helps to maintain an overall positive attitude towards each other. Over time, more significant measures will need to be taken to maintain this relationship.
Undoubtedly, people in an organization share different vital values. They are the basis of their work, so these people, without words, understand each other’s motivation. Undoubtedly, the first value is human life. Workers do everything they can to help others. They are inventing ways to work with patients to more easily cope with chronic diseases and not face crises. Thanks to this, more people become healthy and even happy.
Another essential employee value is cohesion. They understand the value of each “link” in the team. Every employee makes an important contribution to the work of the clinic. They work on a common cause and do not allow quarrels to destroy the established system. They are ready to help each other in complex cases and support each other in difficult situations. Thanks to this cohesion, patients receive better care.
The third value that unites the clinic’s employees is professionalism. Nurses or technicians, try to do their job well. This is how they can get the most out of their actions. This has a positive effect on the condition of patients, the clinic’s success, and the further career potential of employees.
These values are pretty traditional for medical professionals. Unfortunately, however, in some organizations, they are losing their weight and relevance. For example, in large hospitals, each employee is busy with their own business: helping patients. On the one hand, this is good since the primary goal of health care is to solve health problems. On the other hand, often working together on a medical case can bring more results than working alone. Consequently, interactions between workers, as in the said small clinic, can often be of more significant benefit to patients.
In my opinion, the considered case is an excellent example of the planned and purposeful development of a nonprofit institution. Despite all the obstacles, the clinic leaders achieved their goals, albeit not always in an expected way. Through this, they have created an organization that benefits people and makes their lives easier. Such organizations are necessary for any state, and the example described can form the basis for other similar institutions.
Filipovitch, A. J. (2006). Organizational transformation of a community-based clinic. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 17(1), pp. 103-115.