Ponce de Leon Center Selected
As a Top HIV Center by University HealthSystem
ATLANTA -- The Ponce de Leon Center, one of the largest and most comprehensive
outpatient HIV treatment facilities in the country, has been recognized
as one of the premier HIV care clinics in the United States, according
to the HIV Ambulatory Care Clinical Benchmarking Executive Summary
published in September.
The study, conducted by the
University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), recognized the Ponce Center,
which is part of the Grady Health System and the Emory University Division
of Infectious Diseases, for its comprehensive care, systematic antiretroviral
therapy education protocol, and routine clinician feedback. The Ponce
de Leon Center was one of three clinics chosen after a study of the
care provided by 32 university clinics nationwide. The other selected
sites were the University of Utah’s Division of Infectious Diseases
and the University Hospital and Medical Center at Stony Brook in Long
Island, New York.
"This study confirms that
the Grady infectious disease program at the Ponce de Leon Center provides
exceptional health care to men, women and children with HIV infection,"
said Jeffrey L. Lennox, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Emory
University School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and
medical director at the Ponce de Leon Center. "It also shows that the
Grady Health System, Emory University, state of Georgia and local governments
have nurtured a degree of excellence here that can serve as a model
for other care providers across the country."
The study assessed the variations
in care provided to HIV-infected individuals in an ambulatory care setting
and identified opportunities for quality improvement. As part of the
study, a minimum of 40 patients were selected and a patient log submitted,
along with completion of a cross-sectional survey on clinic organizational
structure and processes, and a retrospective patient-level medical record
abstraction tool. Patients who participated in the study were 18 years
of age and older, had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency
virus, and first visited the study institution for HIV care more than
six months before their most recent visit.
Quality indicators for the
study included disease monitoring, opportunistic infection prophylaxis,
health maintenance/preventive care, antiretroviral therapy, and emergency
department visits and hospitalizations.
Most patients who participated
in the study were white or African-American, and the mean patient age
was 41.2 years. Women accounted for almost 30 percent of the cases submitted.
Men who had sex with men, high-risk heterosexual contact, and intravenous
drug use were documented as HIV exposure routes in 38.7 percent, 26.6
percent, and 16.2 percent of patients, respectively.
The study determined that
patients were less likely to have an emergency department visit if there
was documentation in the medical record of the degree to which the patient
adhered to therapy, no documentation of chronic mental illness, no documentation
of illegal drug use, and if the clinic used peer education. CD4 cell
count, a measure of immune system function, improved significantly as
time on antiretroviral therapy increased.
About the Ponce de Leon Center
The Ponce de Leon Center,
located in midtown Atlanta, houses the Adult and Pediatric Infectious
Disease Clinics of the Grady Health System and Emory University School
of Medicine. The center provides care for approximately 4,000 patients
(including 300 children), 99 percent of whom are infected with HIV,
representing about half of the HIV-infected patients in Atlanta.
The center provides patients
with a variety of services in one location, including a primary care
clinic, a women’s clinic, a family clinic, dental clinic, mental health
clinic, clinical research area, infustion area, pharmacy, and subspecialty
clinics, including ophthalmology and dermatology.. The center also houses
community AIDS- related organizations and services, including Project
Open Hand, AIDS Atlanta, and an office of the Department of Family and
The Ponce de Leon Center
opened in 1993, and has had more than 36,000 patient visits since 2001.
Grady Memorial Hospital inpatients with HIV and AIDS are treated within
a special immunology ward attended by Emory physicians.