Fort Yuma Health Care Center Designed to Support Chronic Care Model

Posted by Max Parrill

While rates of diabetes are high and increasing among the general American population, the disease is especially prevalent among Native Americans, and particularly so among American Indian adults in southern Arizona, where rates are just over 29 percent. With almost one in three individuals suffering from diabetes, the staff of the existing Fort Yuma Indian Health Center knew they had to address this problem head-on during the design of the new 76,000sf clinic to be located in Winterhaven, California.

The original program for the building called for spaces dedicated to diabetes prevention and education, such as a demonstration kitchen and office space for counselors, but the facility leadership knew they needed to take a more assertive approach and adopt a Chronic Care Model that would guide the design of the entire outpatient facility with a 22 exam room outpatient clinic at its core.

Working closely with facility staff, the Dekker/Perich/Sabatini design team developed a clinic concept that emphasizes staff collaboration and integration of services to support the Chronic Care Model. The primary care department is divided into two sub-clinics, with one adopting a diabetes-specific care oriented mission.

Healthcare Design Strategies

  • Each sub-clinic contains a central open work space designed to maximize staff interaction and communication.
  • High priority is given to the proximity and interrelationship of the Primary Care Clinic to the Physical Therapy/ Wellness department in order to boost cross-referrals and to enhance the role of Physical Therapy and physical fitness in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.
  • A Diabetes Case Manager and Dietician position were integrated into the Primary Care Clinic, with space provided in the central team work space.
  • Joslin Vision Network (JVN) teleophthalmology room is included as part of the Primary Care Clinic to address eye exams & diabetes-related blindness.
  • Podiatry treatment is integrated with Primary Care and closely associated with Physical Therapy (wound care and foot care are extremely important elements of diabetes treatment).
  • And because obesity is closely associated with diabetes, bariatric considerations are incorporated into the clinic design.

Fort Yuma Floor Plan

Fort Yuma Health Care Center floor plan highlighting - clockwise from top left - Office Provider, JVN-Tele Room, Dietician Educator, Patient Room, Specialty Care / Wound Care, and Podiatry exam rooms.

Fort Yuma Health Care Center will serve the Cocopah and Quechan tribes near the Arizona-California border. It will replace the existing health center, with construction currently underway. To learn more about the facility, visit the Fort Yuma Health Care Center project page.