Union Health Center—Pioneering the Ambulatory Intensive Caring Unit


Lisel Blash, Susan A. Chapman, Catherine Dower

Oct 2010

In 2005, the UNITE HERE (Union) Health Center in New York City embarked on a new initiative that expanded the role of medical assistants (MAs) to provide team-based care and health coaching for patients with chronic diseases. This initiative includes the creation of a career ladder for medical assistants, which allows them to advance in responsibility and pay scale based on successful completion of training modules and high performance.   

The 2014 summary updates the original 2010 case study with new information on staffing, clinical outcomes, and more. 

Innovative Workforce Models of Health Care is a series of case studies showcasing primary care practices that are expanding the roles of medical assistants and other frontline workers in innovative ways. The organizations selected are implementing practice models that improve organizational viability and quality of care for patients while providing career development opportunities to frontline employees. This research is supported by the The Hitachi Foundation as part of its Pioneer Employers Initiative.