Letter: A big mistake to close wheelchair clinic

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Closure of the wheelchair clinic at CarePartners is a big mistake. Do HCA’s administrative goals include increasing admissions by eliminating wellness programs preventing or lessening need for hospitalizations?

Is Dogwood Health Trust making this issue a priority? Funding a wheelchair clinic seems to fit the foundation’s mission. Community health care would benefit.

The Medicaid transformation plans are designed for nonprofits to assign funding for disease-preventive drivers, including housing, transportation, violence prevention and food. Monies are not to be distributed by for-profit entities. HCA will only receive Medicaid reimbursement for disease treatment, not for preventive community wellness. Preventive services at HCA are going away or eliminated. Dedicated caregivers are unable to share or apply their knowledge due to unpredictable patient overloads and emergencies.

Pain is an emergency. The need for treatment results in increasing health care costs at every level of our fragmented health care system, while creating profits for HCA. If a patient or client has a poor-fitting wheelchair and/or poor seating, it contributes to an endless cascade of treatments, suffering and hospitalizations instead of patient progress. We have common sense, but when corporations do not, we all lose out.

— Annie Butzner
Asheville

Editor’s noteXpress contacted HCA with a summary of the points from this letter and a previous one about the clinic. A response to both letters can found in the editor’s note at the bottom of “Wheelchair Clinic’s Closure Will Be Devastating” in this section.

Potential avenues for funding through the Dogwood Health Trust appear to be months away. The foundation has only recently hired its first CEO, and the chair of its board of directors told Xpress in August that she estimated organizations could apply for grants in spring 2020 and receive funding next fall.

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2 thoughts on “Letter: A big mistake to close wheelchair clinic

  1. Steve

    Reach out to Dogwood Health trust. Its the whole point of them to pick up where Mission left off.

  2. Mike

    Please see the editor’s note above; at best, it will be many months before Dogwood Trust can pick this up. In the meanwhile, persons who need these specialized services will not have any access west of Charlotte. And, to mention a few other things: 1) Payor sources often will not provide the power mobility device (if they do at all) without the specialized evaluation, so getting the device without said isn’t an option and 2) The average cost of a power mobility device is around 7k (https://health.costhelper.com/wheelchair.html), so yeah, just paying out of pocket not an option for all but the wealthy.

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