It was 2008, and it was about to rain that Monday afternoon when Dr. Husam AbuZarad was about to move an exam table that would be delivered to the Crescent Community Clinic’s location in Brooksville.
As the sky darkened with rain clouds help from internist Don Lambert who together with Dr. AbuZarad they unloaded the table from the back of Lambert’s pickup into the soon-to-be Crescent Community Clinic of Hernando County. On the way into the building, they maneuvered the large brown rectangle down exam table down a long, narrow hallway and into one of the examination rooms. On the way they passed a stack of gray waiting-room chairs and diagrams of the human body – detailed sketches of the nervous system and the brain – yet to be hung on the freshly painted peach colored walls.
The Clinic opened with five licensed providers and a team of general support personnel. On three Saturdays each month the Clinic offered chronic health care on a walk-in basis. The number of individuals needing health care exploded and within three years the Clinic relocated into our current location at 5244 Commercial Way in Spring Hill.
Fast forward to 2011
The Clinic’s relocation was made possible under a $100,000 grant award from the Blue Foundation Crescent Community Clinic which paid for the build-out at Winchester Plaza. The new Clinic had three exam rooms, a triage room, two handicapped accessible bathrooms, a conference room, office, medical front desk, waiting room, three dental operatories and kitchen for staff use.
A year later another grant provided for expanding the Clinic to include a mental health department including four offices, two counseling rooms, an administrator office and mental health check in front office
As 2020 begins statistics indicate that the number of patients who have received health care for their chronic health, palliative dental care and mental health service is at least 7,000 patients who have had several appointments each. This is about thirty percent of the total uninsured individuals in Hernando County (does not include children or adults without Medicare or Medicaid). The Clinic does not provide any health care for individuals on Medicaid or Share of Cost programs.
Florida continues to rank near the top of the number of uninsured residents. In 2018 the percent of Floridians without health insurance rose from 12.9 percent to 13 percent or more than 2.7 million residents. That’s an estimated increase of 52,000 Floridians, and only Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia have higher uninsured rates. Florida as the nation’s third-largest state should do better by its residents.
Crescent Community Clinic is Hernando County’s only free health care clinic for chronic health, palliative dental care and mental health services. By providing access to high quality health care the Clinic is reducing usage of hospital emergency rooms for non-emergent care and saves hospital charity care millions of dollars.
Crescent Community Clinic has an all-volunteer staff of licensed providers, an AmeriCorps VISTA team of volunteers, several Urban Senior Jobs Program participants, Career Source participants, students from colleges, universities and high schools, ATA Career Center and general volunteers who do a variety of health care services and duties to ensure that the uninsured, indigent and underserved non-elderly residents of Hernando County continue to have access to free health care.