Health Center News, Uncategorized

Community Health Center News Roundup

By: Beau Boughamer

Sometimes it’s okay to be overshadowed.

The big headline this past weekend, of course, was that the U.S. House of Representatives passed its health reform bill.  If you haven’t seen them yet, please do check out NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden’s statement and our Hill and advocacy blogs to learn more.

In the meantime, we found health centers in the news throughout the weekend.  Media highlights, after the jump.

The Tri-City Herald — serving Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, Wash. — ran a feature story on an ER diversion program involving Community Health Center La Clinica and Miramar Health Center and a local hospital.

Local hospital and community health officials were surprised to learn that parents with young children were among those most likely to use an emergency room as their primary source of medical care…. Lourdes Health Network, Community Health Center La Clinica and Miramar Health Center teamed up on a project about a year ago to find ways to divert people from emergency rooms when an ER visit wasn’t need…. The project is funded through a two-year, $352,000 grant from the state Department of Social and Health Service that pays for staff at all three locations to help patients learn how to get the right medical care at the right time and in the right place, said Erin Tomlinson, the grant writer for Lourdes Foundation…. The project has four components offered at each of the three locations: an after-hours nurse triage telephone line, on-site case management, on-site behavioral management counseling and an education and awareness campaign…. La Clinica CEO Carl Walters II said the project has shown the two clinics where they needed to expand services or hours to provide patients with an alternative to the emergency room. The project also has encouraged the three health care providers to put aside any competitiveness and work together for the sake of the community, Walters said. “This has been an absolutely wonderful partnership, he said. “If you look at where the nation is going toward integration of behavioral and medical services … this fits in well.”

In a (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald article about the “silent majority” of health reform supporters, Ernest Brown of North Central Family Medical Center spoke up for the uninsured.

The center relies on federal grants and subsidies to provide discounted medical care. It’s similar to other nonprofit clinics that serve an estimated 700,000 South Carolinians who don’t have health insurance.

Supporters say the Democratic bill could give relief to families living in the Fifth Congressional District. It would provide coverage for 82,000 uninsured residents and improve Medicare for 119,000 beneficiaries, according to figures released by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman.

“Those who oppose it have more energy,” said Brown. “It’s that silent majority out there that we need to rally.”

 The Boston Herald profiled Dimock Center CEO Ruth Ellen Fitch.

Her third career has deposited Fitch right back where she began, in a couple of ways.

First, there is the geography: At the Dimock Center, where she became president and CEO five years ago, her office is a couple of blocks from the green shingled house of her childhood.

Second, there is the battle: Despite the huge progress wrought by civil rights advances, a lot of the people Fitch serves – mostly black and Latino – face obstacles almost as huge and stubborn as those she overcame 40-plus years ago.

Five years after she took over, Fitch is still thrilled to be back in the neighborhood. Her history, and her command of complexity (at Palmer & Dodge, she specialized in municipal financing), make her an inspired pick to lead the Dimock. She is also uncommonly wired, having served on umpteen nonprofit boards, working closely with Mayor Thomas M. Menino when, as an attorney, she represented his city.

The Green Valley (Ariz.) News and Sun reported on the opening of a new United Community Health Center location.

The ribbon was cut Thursday on United Community Health Center’s new pediatric clinic, with speakers offering thanks to Diamond Ventures for donating the land, the Pima County Board of Supervisors for its financial backing, and the vision of CEO Dianna Gonzales.

The 3,240-square-foot pediatric clinic, an extension on an existing building, is at Continental Family Medical Center, 1260 S. Campbell Road, Green Valley.