From a press release:
The Park Ridge Health Foundation has been awarded a grant in the amount of $350,000 from The Duke Endowment to assist The Free Clinics in maintaining, expanding and enhancing their collaborative network of care serving Henderson and Polk Counties.
In 2006, The Duke Endowment adopted a comprehensive approach to health care for North Carolina’s low-income, uninsured residents. In consultation with statewide health care leaders, the Endowment focuses on establishing collaborative networks for low-income, uninsured people. Instead of reacting to patient needs when patients are already sick, this model integrates health services on the front end. Helping low-income, uninsured persons have access to primary care and preventative care helps them stay healthier in the long-run.
The new funding will strengthen The Free Clinics’ network of care for Henderson and Polk counties, which currently includes 104 health care partners. The grant will also enable The Free Clinics to maintain and expand case management and care coordination services, including endocrinology services in Polk County, cancer screenings, wellness clinics and women’s health screenings. Expanded clinical screening services in the Henderson County and Polk County communities will specifically benefit the medically indigent who struggle with access to such services.
“The evolution of The Free Clinic’s care from only treating those who are ill to include an explicit focus on clinical screening, prevention and wellness education is a critical one for this patient population,” said Judy Long, Executive Director of The Free Clinics. “Health care in the United States is shifting to include more focus upon wellness, rather than simply treatment of illness.”
“Research is demonstrating that only 20 percent of health is affected by the clinical office visit and interventions, whereas 80 percent of health is directly impacted by a person’s life, environment and opportunities,” Long said. “For this reason, almost all insurance providers—public or private—are intentionally focusing on wellness. However, those without insurance are left behind. And those without insurance are statistically the sickest among us—often with significant and often untreated chronic health issues. If any portion of our state population needs an enhanced focus on health and prevention, it is the medically indigent, low-income, uninsured population. The Free Clinics seeks to be the vehicle for health prevention and wellness among this population in the Henderson and Polk County communities. Enhanced and proactive focus on prevention, wellness and clinical screening is a natural evolution of care—from reactive to proactive, from treating illness to maintaining health.”