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Archive for Saturday, January 26, 2008

Clinic for uninsured residents seeks grant to expand or relocate

January 26, 2008

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Local health care clinic looking to expand

Tough economic times lead to a boom in business for one local non-profit - and now, the local clinic that provides health care to the uninsured faces a space crunch. Enlarge video

Kevin Lavene, from left, Carol (no last name given) and Tanika Halcrombe sit in the waiting room at Health Care Access. The clinic is the largest operation of its kind serving uninsured Douglas County residents. Health Care Access is starting a serious push to expand or relocate its operations after seeing a record-setting number of patients in 2007.

Kevin Lavene, from left, Carol (no last name given) and Tanika Halcrombe sit in the waiting room at Health Care Access. The clinic is the largest operation of its kind serving uninsured Douglas County residents. Health Care Access is starting a serious push to expand or relocate its operations after seeing a record-setting number of patients in 2007.

Related document

Health Care Access' grant application ( .PDF )

— Health Care Access - the largest clinic serving uninsured Douglas County residents - is starting a serious push to expand or relocate its operations after serving a record number of patients in 2007.

And demand in 2008 may soar even higher.

"We usually boom when the recession hits," said Nikki King, executive director of Health Care Access.

That's why the nonprofit organization has formed a committee to study expanding its clinic at 1920 Moodie Road, or relocating to another Lawrence location. The goal, King said, is to expand the clinic from four exam rooms to six, which could allow the clinic to add about 1,000 appointments per year.

The group is looking for city help. Health Care Access recently filed paperwork with the city seeking a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant. King said an expansion or relocation could cost $500,000.

"There is no doubt that they need additional space," Mayor Sue Hack said.

But Hack stopped short of endorsing the $50,000 request. The city is scheduled to provide about $25,000 in operational funding to Health Care Access in 2008. Hack said she wanted to consider the $50,000 application, but said it needed to go through the CDBG review process. The city's Neighborhood Resources Advisory Board is scheduled to review CDBG applications in February and March, and then forward funding recommendations to the City Commission.

King said the clinic saw 1,621 patients in 2007, who accounted for 3,757 appointments. The patient numbers represent an increase of about 20 percent from 2006, King said.

King said her staff has converted an administrative office to an exam room, and could do that with two other office spaces. But King said her board of directors decided to take a hard look at whether the building will meet the clinic's long-term needs.

"Right now, all options will be on the table," King said.

If the facility does move, she added, it would need to be in a location easily accessible to its low-income clients, which means any location would need to be on the city's public transit routes.

King confirmed there is interest in looking at property near Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which also is near the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center. She said the board would be interested in the former ambulance station on the LMH campus.

State statistics estimate that about 12,000 Douglas County residents are uninsured. King estimates that Health Care Access reaches about 14 percent of that target market.

Comments

Staci Dark Simpson 6 years, 11 months ago

wish Leavenworth county people could go there. I am only 12 miles from Lawrence, just like Baldwin but unfortunately in the wrong county!

openminded 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm really confused about this place. I don't have insurance and when I called to have my yearly exam...they said I had to be 40 years old. Well, that means I have to wait 3 more years before I can use Health Care Access! What good does that do me?

Can someone please tell me why I can't get an exam when I'm 37 from a doctor's office? Doesn't that go against their oath?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

National Health Insurance is the key. Health Care Acess appears to be managed professionally. They are also mindful of their budget. Health Care Access is deserving of whatever funds come their way.

Kathy Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

Bowhunter:

1.People in need are not demanding services; 2.Any one of us could be in this situation at any time in our lives; 3.It is our responsibility, as a culture, to take care of those in need.

somebodynew 6 years, 11 months ago

V-o-R - - While I agree (in part)with your post it seems to me there is a #4

4 - the more we try to provide for those who truly need there seems to be a steady increase in the numbers of "needy". (needy = I don't want to work so people have to take care of me. as opposed to those truly in need because of circumstances not choises.)

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

National Health Insurance does not come for free. The lions share of the population will make contributions which is why National Health Insurance makes sense.

Is national health insurance "socialized medicine"? No. Socialized medicine is a system in which doctors and hospitals work for the government and draw salaries from the government. Doctors in the Veterans Administration and the Armed Services are paid this way. Examples also exist in Great Britain and Spain. But in most European countries, Canada, Australia and Japan they have socialized financing, or socialized health insurance, not socialized medicine. The government pays for care that is delivered in the private (mostly not-for-profit) sector. This is similar to how Medicare works in this country. Doctors are in private practice and are paid on a fee-for-service basis from government funds. The government does not own or manage their medical practices or hospitals.

The term socialized medicine is often used to conjure images of government bureaucratic interference in medical care. That does not describe what happens in countries with national health insurance. It does describe the interference by insurance company bureaucrats in our health system.

Currently, about 60% of our health care system is financed by public money: federal and state taxes, property taxes and tax subsidies. These funds pay for Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, coverage for public employees (including teachers), elected officials, military personnel, etc. There are also hefty tax subsidies to employers to help pay for their employees' health insurance. About 20% of heath care is financed by all of us individually through out-of-pocket payments, such as co-pays, deductibles, the uninsured paying directly for care, people paying privately for premiums, etc. Private employers only pay 20% of health care costs. In all, it is a very "regressive" way to finance health care, in that the poor pay a much higher percentage of their income for health care than higher income individuals do.

Another consideration is that everyone would have the same comprehensive health coverage, including all medical, hospital, eye care, dental care, long-term care, and mental health services. Currently, many people and businesses are paying huge premiums for insurance that is almost worthless if they were to have a serious illness.

LadyWolf 6 years, 11 months ago

Health Care Access is one of the finest services I have experienced in our city. I was a single, WORKING parent for many years. Because I worked, my children and I did not qualify for SRS assistance, but because my pay was fairly low, I could not afford to pay the premiums for family health insurance. My youngest child became quite ill and the meds and services our doctor (yes, I paid for those visits and those meds) provided failed to help her get well. In desperation, when I had no more money and my child was still sick, I swallowed my pride and went to Health Care Access. Not only did they suggest new ideas to try with my child and new prescriptions (they helped pay for them), but my child finally got better. The other great part is that my child and I were treated with caring and dignity...like we were important. I don't have to use their services any more but Health Care Access deserves any help they can get. They serve the people of our community competently, caringly, and consistently.

deskboy04 6 years, 11 months ago

I think that the people at Health Care Access are wonderful. I don't want to see anyone go without care. I know that I could be in that same boat someday...but it still bothers me to know that I am paying for something that others think that they should be given. I'm not sure what the answer is.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

I am an RN. To my dieing breath I will state and believe that basic health care (the kind that treats diseases and keeps you alive) should be a right and not a privilege The same with medication.Of the billions of dollars being spent on the war in Iraq, if a mere 10% of that money was spent on basic health care, we could insure every man, woman and child in the United States. The fact that people die in this country because they cannot get access to health care (and believe me, they do) should be our national shame. NO one in this country should have to spend more than 10% of their annual income for health care (including medications, treatments and durable medical equipment). Believe me, whether we have socialized medicine or national health care the cost in taxation would be far less than that. It amazes me that people are willing to pay for highways, schools, subsidization of utilities and yes, for wars, and yet cannot see the benefits to society of having a healthy population.We are at this impasse because society and the health care system itself has changed. Gone are the days of the old country doctor who would take payment in vegetables and eggs. Just as we have changed from a production based economy to a service based economy, health care has changed to a service based industry more interested in "customer service" than treatment and more concerned about profit than saving lives.

mom_of_three 6 years, 11 months ago

How do you know that Ladywolf has not already returned the favor or payback as you call it to Healthcare access? How quick we are to assume and attack.

toefungus 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Hack can sell her stock in a certain company and give the money to Healthcare. Wait, it is for uninsured people. Her husband makes no money on these folks.

pace 6 years, 11 months ago

hawk can't stand up to being wrong, just twists it to continue his blather. Health care access is worth supporting, but it does not replace a health care program that is untied from corporate.control of the workplace. iF you think money shows up real fast to help the poor you are just plain stupid as well as a poor debater.

jayhawkbarrister 6 years, 11 months ago

Hawk, why don't we have a fundraiser or a bake sale for the Department of Defense and take the money in the fed budget earmarked for defense and put it towards health care? I would be willing to pay $10.00 for a $5.00 pie. :-)

openminded 6 years, 11 months ago

First, let me say that I don't DEMAND anything out of life. I simply called Health Care Access to see if I could get an appt for my yearly woman's exam. She asked my age, then stated I was not old enough, I had to be 40 years old. I said thanks and hung up. I know that I don't have insurance, I know I make less than 12K a year, she didn't! I knew that I would have to pay for seeing a doctor, for any meds they would put me on, I'm not stupid. I was simply asking a question to the public as to why one offers services to those who don't have insurance but then why I was declined because I was too young? I have severe problems and I cannot have children so having a yearly exam is very important to me, which I am now at almost 2 years since my last exam. I was confused (and still am) and never meant to start a word riot in here....sorry.

sundancewierdo 6 years, 11 months ago

openminded, you should try planned parenthood. i don't know if they can help you or not but it's worth a try and also try the health dept. it's a rough spot to be in. getting a checkup with no health insurance is tough. sometimes even with health isurance it's hard. not only do you have to pay a premium each month ( $141 per paycheck, so 282 per month), then you have a co-pay usually $20, then any additional labs, x-ray, etc typically 20%. it gets expensive. i can guarantee that the 282 would have covered my pap-smear and still had money left over for a haircut. however, should i or my family get cancer or need surgery i would be thanking my lucky stars that i have insurance. good luck to those not fortunate enough to have insurance, i hope the powers that be figure a way for everyone to get coverage because cait48 is right, being healthy should be available to all, not just those who can afford it.

Raymond Munoz 6 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of health care for low-income residents...

The Douglas County Dental Clinic is providing free services for children 0-18 on Friday Feb. 1st for Give Kids A Smile Day. To be seen on Give Kids A Smile Day, children must be at 200% of poverty guidelines or below, not have any dental insurance and no Medicaid / HealthWave, and they must live in Douglas County. We will be providing free exams, x-rays, and cleanings. Please call us at 785-312-7770 to set an appointment!

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