“You be you. We’ll be Kind.” That’s the Kind Clinic’s motto, and they’re sticking to it.
Since 2015, Kind Clinic—a program of 501(c)(3) community-informed non-profit Texas Health Action—has been empowering individuals to “embrace their sexual health and wellness without fear, shame, or judgment.” With locations in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, Texas, the organization offers patients access to HIV prevention and treatment, STI testing and treatment, and gender-affirming care. That’s all patients. While Kind Clinic has expertise in serving the LGBTQIA+ community, it offers compassionate care to everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, creed, or ability to pay.
“We strive to make sure our patients feel comfortable talking about their sexual health while receiving top-of-the-line medical care,” the Kind Clinic website states. “Every person who walks into our doors is safe to be who they are, with no fear of stigma of judgement.”
As a covered entity that relies upon the 340B drug discount program to continue its mission and expand future services, Kind Clinic has exacting standards for maintaining operational efficiency, instilling patient trust, and staying ahead of barriers that interfere with care. But sweeping changes to drug manufacturer reimbursement policies, federal and state funding, and legislation that endangers health care rights can make these initiatives a challenge, to say the least.
Here’s why and how Kind Clinic partnered with Avita to future-proof their mission and ensure the organization’s lasting ability to “Be Kind.”
Increasing access by removing barriers
In less than 10 years, Kind Clinic has expanded its reach to 170 team members, serving almost 20,000 patients annually across four clinics (and offering telehealth services through its TeleKind option to boot). “As we’ve built out our clinics and programs, we’ve always thought about how to make the healthiest thing the easiest thing for our patients to do,” CEO Christopher Hamilton says. “That means we’ve focused on increasing access and removing barriers whenever possible.”
Like many other covered entities, the organization has bravely met obstacles along the way. In 2016, after an extensive vetting process, the team chose Avita to provide pharmacy services and 340B program administration. Why? In a nutshell: “Avita’s dedication and passion for our LGBTQIA+ community are what makes the relationship different,” Hamilton says. “We serve the same people, care for the same people, and fight for the same people.”
Other key differentiators included:
Onsite pharmacy expertise: Kind Clinic leverages two Avita-managed onsite pharmacies in Austin (a third will be opening soon in San Antonio) to increase adherence and tear down obstacles in the patient experience. Patients’ prescriptions are available just minutes after they leave their appointments and in the same building as the clinic. “They’re able to leave with their medication in hand, so there’s one less chance for them not to take it,” Hamilton says.
“There is another level of care between pharmacists and our prescribing providers when they’re in the same space,” he adds. “The pharmacist can walk over and talk to the provider about new medications, or the provider can easily ask the pharmacist questions. Sure, the internet’s great, but it doesn’t replace being in the same building.”
Culturally competent care: Because Kind Clinic serves the LGBTQIA+ community, patients who are beginning their transition process, and other underserved communities, working with a pharmacy team that prides itself on gender-affirming, culturally competent care is crucial. “Someone who is transgender may not have changed their name legally yet, because that is an expensive process,” Hamilton explains. “The Avita pharmacy team understands why the patient provides their legal name but still addresses them by their everyday name. The pharmacist uses the correct pronouns and treats patients with the dignity and respect they deserve. That’s not always the case at other pharmacies.”
An experience people can trust: Offering patients a safe space where they feel welcome and understood is key to instilling their trust, which is one of the most critical determinants of health care success. Avita’s onsite pharmacies with Kind Clinic are warm, comfortable spaces where individuals can access top-of-the-line pharmacy care in a personalized environment. Just a small example: The reception area in Kind Clinic’s Koenig location was recently wrapped with the bright, inspiring artwork and messaging of Avita’s beYOUtiful campaign.
“If you don’t trust your health care provider, you’re not going to engage with them,” Hamilton says. “We’re able to tell our patients that we trust Avita, that they will get this right. It makes a huge difference.”
Turnkey 340B program administration: The 340B drug discount program helps Kind Clinic act as a safety net care provider for some of the community’s most underserved patients. But navigating and accurately administrating the system is no walk in the park. Kind Clinic is paired with a dedicated strategic account executive and a 340B financial analyst from Avita, who are committed to doing the legwork and advocating for the organization so its team can get back to caring for patients.
When some drug manufacturers significantly reduced their reimbursement models and threatened to cut off access to the program at certain pharmacies, Avita was able to help Kind Clinic find a solution and offer patients support in finding financial assistance. “People who are uninsured or wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford their medication could still access it through an Avita pharmacy,” Hamilton says. “That’s been a literal lifesaver for many people. Because if you reduce access to life-saving medication for people who are already uninsured or have marginalized access to healthcare, that will exacerbate the problems we already have with the system.”
Co-branded marketing and educational materials: Building and maintaining a patient base is essential to any covered entity’s long-term sustainability. Avita helps Kind Clinic gain visibility in the community and retain healthy patients with co-branded marketing and educational materials. “Avita’s co-branded materials are featured in the exam rooms of our clinics and our onsite pharmacies,” Hamilton says. “Avita also works with us to provide complimentary swag that we use for our outreach and testing events.”
From Avita’s SEXUWELL campaign to its beYOUtiful LGBTQ+ Pride initiative to materials about HIV, PrEP, and more, Kind Clinic has a wealth of opportunities to take advantage of customized collateral, promotional items, and event support at no additional cost.
Exclusive technology solutions: Today’s covered entities must reach and retain new and existing clients via a variety of methods, and adopting the latest technology plays an important role. Kind Clinic has access to Avita’s CareConnect portal as a single point of digital engagement for Avita’s covered entity partners and their users/case managers. Its team members can monitor and review the status of patients’ active medication therapies, check refills, and monitor prescription deliveries. The solution also provides Kind Clinic with detailed 340B program management analytics, including estimates of its program’s net proceeds, estimated costs, prescription activity, and patient counts.
Kind Clinic patients are also supported with Avita’s OneClick Refill program, which allows them to refill prescriptions easily from the comfort of their mobile phones. “Providing technology solutions to frontline staff so that they can take care of patients better has been challenging for non-profits in the public health space,” Hamilton says. “If there’s a solution like the Avita [CareConnect] portal that allows our staff to monitor in real time who is filling their prescriptions and who has fallen out of care, that’s an enormous help.”
An aligned focus that impacts lives
Partnering with Avita has helped Kind Clinic build upon its mission of empowering patients to embrace the full potential of sexual health without fear or stigma. Strategically utilizing Avita’s integrated suite of services, including compassionate onsite pharmacy care, 340B program administration, and marketing and community event support, has positively impacted Kind Clinic’s patient journey, increased the organization’s ability to benefit from the 340B program, and saved its team members valuable time.
And while the success hasn’t happened overnight, the collaborative initiatives between Kind Clinic and Avita have paid off in the long haul, Hamilton notes. “Having pharmacies that understand and cater to our patients and are as close as possible helps to remove barriers to accessing medications,” he says. “Avita’s focus aligns with who we are and whom we serve.”
About Kind Clinic
Mission: Kind Clinic offers free sexual health services in a safe and supportive environment regardless of race, creed, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, or ability to pay.
Founded: 2015. Kind Clinic is a program of Texas Health Action, a 501(c)(3) community informed non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to culturally affirming, quality health services in a safe and supportive environment.
Services offered: Kind Clinic is a national leader in innovative sexual health care that offers patients access to HIV prevention medication known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), HIV testing and care, STI testing and treatment, and gender-affirming care.
Service locations: Clinics are in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas.
Avita partner since: 2016