APEX Awards recognize staff at RHD’s Family Practice & Counseling Network for excellence in providing quality care

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Two members of RHD’s Family Practice & Counseling Network, the largest nurse-managed health care network in the country, have been honored for their work in providing health care to vulnerable populations with the APEX awards (Awards for Primary Care Excellence) from the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers.

Dr. Carolyn Truesdale was presented the Outstanding Primary Care Clinician Award in recognition of her significant contributions in the delivery of primary care to vulnerable populations, improving quality, accessibility and outcomes of care.

Melissa Morton was presented the Customer Service Excellence Award in recognition of her significant contributions providing exemplary customer service to health center patients and colleagues. Morton also received the Patient Choice Award – the only award given based solely on nominations from patients.

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Dr. Truesdale began working at FPCN in 2001 as the assistant director of behavioral health and as a practicing clinician in the specialty of child psychology. In 2006, she was promoted to director and subsequently built the department to its current staff of 25, covering three sites that provide behavioral health care to more than 800 patients. Dr. Truesdale is not only a practicing clinician who provides care to children, she leads the department and serves on the health center’s senior leadership team.

“The culture and values of an organization are created by the person in charge, and that exemplifies FPCN’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Department overseen by Dr. Carolyn Truesdale,” FPCN Executive Director Donna Torrisi said. “She respects the worth and dignity of all people, including her staff and patients.”

Morton serves as the behavioral health office coordinator for FPCN. In that role, she is the first voice new referrals hear and the first face patients see when they come for their appointments.  She greets them in a way that makes them feel like family and has created a waiting area that is a safe haven and place of refuge.

FPCN patients described Morton as “the ultimate in customer service,” as “honest, responsible and straight-forward,” and as “a happy person who makes other people happy.” Another FPCN patient said: “Miss Melissa greets people every day in a cheerful and respectful way. She’s the sunshine you can’t get on a rainy day.”

The Family Practice and Counseling Network was founded as a program of Resources for Human Development in 1992 as a federally-qualified health center (FQHC) that uses a nurse-managed, integrated model to deliver primary care, behavioral health, dental, and preventive services designed to treat the whole patient. FQHCs are community health centers that serve more than 800,000 individuals in Pennsylvania and more than 22 million nationally, providing comprehensive primary medical, dental and behavioral health services. Community health centers in Pennsylvania and across the nation share the mission of improving access to quality, affordable primary medical, dental and behavioral health care for all.