Faith in Action
If you want to see what American Muslims truly represent visit the Crescent Community Clinic and you will see Faith in Action. In 2007, access to healthcare for the uninsured, under-served and indigent non-elderly adults of Hernando County weighted heavy on the hearts of a few Muslim physicians. It was staggering to learn that then 20% of Hernando County residents did not have health insurance. These dedicated physicians took action. Following the Islamic wisdom of the Prophet Mohammed ‘Wish for your brother what you wish for yourself’, they came together in 2008 to create Crescent of Hernando, Inc. a 501c3 healthcare organization. The clinic mission was to provide access for chronic health care when it opened in 2008. These committed physicians gave of their resources, their time, their energy and most of all their hearts and opened the Crescent Community Clinic in Brooksville, Florida on June 11, 2008. The five founders, Dr. AbuZarad, Dr. Ali, Dr. Reheem, Dr. Joud, and Dr. Alashaar gave in charity to help those in need of health care and volunteered on Saturdays to diagnose and treat those most in need. The first few years the clinic saw non-elderly adults with chronic health issues including asthma, arthritis, cancer, COPD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, hypertension and obesity on walk-in basis. The motto of the clinic is ‘Surely, with each difficulty there is ease’. The mission is to improve the health and well-being of the underserved, indigent and uninsured, to promote health literacy and to establish alliances that serve our community. To provide the best health care for our patients regardless of their ability to pay is the goal of the founding physicians. To keep up with the demand for services and the lack of space to expand in Brooksville it became necessary to relocate. The choice to move to the pocket of poverty community in zip code 34606 proved to be a good choice to serve the most people needing healthcare.
Receiving a $100,000 grant from Blue Foundation the clinic relocated to the Winchester Plaza in Spring Hill and built out 3,400 square feet with a fully functional medical and dental clinic. Three years later on June 11, 2011, Crescent Community Clinic opened at the new location and expanded services to include health clinics, dental clinics and mental health clinics. Everyone, including the licensed providers, office and support staff, is a volunteer, thus making the clinic one of the most satisfying places to volunteer. Because of the influx of patients the walk-in health care services the clinic changed to appointments only. The impact on the hospital charity care for uninsured patients is greatly reduced because of the intervention of clinic services. As the only charitable health care clinic in Hernando County doctors caught cancers before it spread, saved diabetics from limb amputations, stopped kidneys from failing, reduced patient’s cholesterol level and blood pressure, intervened with medication to reduce heart attacks and strokes, stabilized patients with epilepsy, provided meal planning and healthy nutrition programs, helped smokers to quit use of tobacco products, provided limited lab through Bayfront Hospital at Brooksville, ensured diagnostic tests through Spring Hill MRI donations of vouchers for tests and referred patients for clinical studies at Meridian Clinical Research. Adults with low incomes can have dental care including extractions and fillings. For the patient diagnosed with a mental illness he or she can see a therapist and a psychiatrist to become stable. Our clinic does not just treat patients but are concerned when patients are not able to afford their medications. Pharmaceutical Companies often offer programs for free medication to receive a year’s supply of medication. They must have a Medicaid denial letter and script. Today access to palliative dental care and mental health services are available. Patients with dental pain and oral infections have access to extractions and fillings by volunteer dentists. Staff listened and responded to the lack of access for mental health services in Hernando County. In February, 2011 the Nature Coast Recovery Summit spearheaded by our director of development was held with over 80 mental health professionals attending. As a result of the Summit our clinic began offering mental health services. Individuals diagnosed with a mental illness are seen by a psychiatrist, licensed mental health counselors, therapists and participate in individual or group support sessions or receive medication at the clinic. We partner with the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI), and BayCare Behavioral. Since our inception in 2008, the clinic had seen over 55,000 face-to-face patient visits at a savings of millions of dollars for taxpayers, hospital charity programs and individuals.
Seventy percent of the patients seen at Crescent Community Clinic are the hidden homeless. Hidden homeless are adult children living with their elderly parents because they have lost their employment or are simply too ill with a chronic health disease or a diagnosed mental illness not related to drug or alcohol use. These patients do not have an income and subsist on what is provided for them by their families. The near homeless are those individuals who are employed but living pay to paycheck and even a minor setback would be catastrophic. Patients with a chronic health disease, such as, asthma, arthritis, cancer, COPD, epilepsy, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and obesity will see a physician at least four times a year and sometimes more often depending on the critical needs of the patient. Patients with a diagnosed mental illness may see a therapist weekly or monthly and a psychiatrist if on prescribed medication. Patients with dental issues may need several appointments for extractions or fillings.
In just the last quarter or 2019, the clinic provided free healthcare for 3,552 patient visits and donated 3,864 hours of professional care at a value of $966,000. General support volunteers donated 16,094 hours of services at a value of $409,270. In the coming quarter, which ends March 31,2020, we estimate that the need for access to health care will increase by 25%. The clinic receives an average of 48 new applications each month. When multiplied by four quarters a year one can see the value of free health care for Hernando County uninsured may reach well into millions of dollars a year. Now multiply the value since 2008 and one can see the immense value of Crescent Community Clinic services. The clinic struggles to meet our budget since we do not receive any Federal, State or United Way funding to support the Clinic. Fundraising events and grants, community support and donations from our patients help to keep the doors open and services continue. Our founders, volunteer staff and donors strive to ensure that the clinic will continue to meet the community health care needs for the future. The Boutique of Hope staffed by volunteers who are cancer survivors or have a family member with cancer has bras, turbans, scarves, prosthetics and wigs at no charge. Women who want items just need to stop by on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. Every new patient who uses tobacco products is enrolled in the ‘Tools to Quit’ smoking cessation program conducted by GulfCoast North Area Health Education. This program has proven to be very successful and has greatly reduced incidences of asthma, COPD and heart disease from getting worse. Most of our patients who successfully complete the two-hour program and use the nicotine patches have reported that they quit smoking. The Clinic is always welcoming caring and compassionate individuals who want to give back in volunteering their time and skills. Please consider becoming a part of our team and volunteer with us. We invite you to join our team of compassionate volunteers as we go forth to offer more services to ensure that the uninsured, indigent and underserved non-elderly residents of Hernando County will continue to have access to health care.
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