Manning a HAP in the Curaçao Medical Center is a hot topic these days. We could not have picked a better moment to host a Healthy Hour with Curaçao’s general practitioners. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word, HAP stands for Huisartsen Post (Dutch for General Practice Center). The new hospital includes a HAP center with four rooms. An English word would be correct, but we refer to this as The HAP. The way this HAP will be manned and managed has yet to be decided.
On 12th and 14th of March 2019, we held two HH sessions and had the privilege to share the main components of the transition and some preliminary thoughts on managing the HAP.
A total of 38 physicians attended the Healthy Hours and exchanged ideas, opinions, concerns and hopes surrounding our new hospital. The Physicians were overall very happy to be informed about the transition program and to get a closer look at the hospital and the new possibilities available to patients. Some of the comments I thought were heartfelt: “Very nice to be invited and to see all that you are working on.” “We are very hopeful now.” “A very ambitious program, but very much needed.” “Wish we could go in the building to get a closer look.” Very Futuristic.” “A dream will come true.”
HAP Preliminary Thoughts
First let me say that whatever I share with you here are preliminary thoughts that I pulled from the Q&A sessions and discussions during the Healthy Hours. These are not decisions, nor official standpoints. This article tries to give you the gist of what’s brewing in the HAP arena, so you can stay in the loop and hopefully enjoy knowing that we are working together to make this transition a patient-centered and successful one.
The HAP should provide relief for people needing help after normal doctor-office hours. The triage assesses if the patient needs emergency room care or can suffice with the services of a general practitioner in the HAP. The idea is to man the HAP after 5PM, when most doctors’ offices have closed. This makes it possible for all general practitioners to work less shifts. There is a desire to also visit patients at home with a driver. To assess viability and enable all this, a lot of data is being gathered and scenarios are being discussed. The benchmark is to have 1 HAP for every 160,000 people and HNO’s vision document includes 3 HAPs. One in the CMC and two more at other points on the island.
The CMC will employ its own HAP Manager and will ensure ER physician to assess incoming emergencies. The HAP is not intended as triage for the ER. So far, the CMC does not intend to employ the teams manning the HAP. These general practitioners get to use the facilities and charge for their services, giving body to the concept of providing patient-centered care. Other than the general practitioners, the HAP will also need additional personnel. General practitioners have yet to figure out how they will share the shifts, costs and other responsibilities. Also, the decisions about payments for their services are yet to be made.
It is imperative to inform the general public about the workings of the HAP to avoid it becoming a ‘regular’ doctor’s office that people visit at will. This challenge has been overcome successfully elsewhere, which makes it possible to tap into their success factors.
These are, in a nutshell, my takeaways of our Healthy Hours with general practitioners.
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