The Role of Crescent Community Clinic in the Era of Health Reform
Florida has 67 counties and over 100 free clinics. Crescent Community Clinic is a member of the Florida Association of Free Clinics (FAFC) which serves as an organizing body for the free clinics and advocates for issues and needs facing free clinics. The member clinics are staffed by paid and volunteer staff. Florida has not accepted Federal money for Medicaid. Therefore, low-income Floridians with chronic health conditions and mental health diagnoses must rely on free clinics for their healthcare. Crescent Community Clinic, a volunteer staffed clinic, is a critical part of the health care safety net system in Hernando County. The clinic provides access for the uninsured and indigent non-elderly residents of our county and provides healthcare for individuals with chronic health issues and behavioral health services for individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. Our palliative dental program is in jeopardy because three of our five dentists have retired and no other dentist has answered our call for volunteering service. The clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians, psychiatrists, dentists and mental health therapists offering health care by appointments. In October, the clinic did Intake and Eligibility for 52 uninsured adults who qualified for healthcare services. Many of these individual are considered homeless or near homeless. Over 70% of our patients also meet this category. Crescent Community Clinic does not receive any federal, state, county or United Way funding. Donations from civic and social organizations, businesses, individuals and patients provide less than a fifth of funding for our operating budget. Grants for specific programs submitted when available. Pinellas Community Foundation recently awarded $3,000. Low-income uninsured people with chronic health conditions or mental health episodes are at particular risk. Many rely on hospital emergency rooms for non-emergent care which drives costs up for everyone. Our goal is to stabilize individuals so they do not rely on hospital emergency rooms for non-emergent care. Crescent Community Clinic has saved millions of dollars in hospital charity care each year. Yet, only one hospital donates to the clinic.
The chronic health clinic provides patients diagnosed with asthma, cancer, diabetes, COPD, epilepsy, heart disease, hypertension, pulmonary, urology and obesity and provides access to our partner specialists at their private practices for other health concerns. Patients diagnosed with a mental illness and who have been prescribed medication receive treatment with a psychiatrist. Behavioral health patients are assessed and then seen by a therapist on a weekly or monthly basis.
Imagine if you had a health condition and no insurance and desperately needed medication to live? Crescent Community Clinic would be a safety net for you to survive. Patients who cannot afford their medication are enrolled in the Pharmaceutical Prescription Assistance program and receive a year’s supply of free medication. This program has provided millions of dollars of medication for our patients. Insulin for diabetics is very costly and the cost for insulin for a year is $10,000. Patients with breathing problems or asthma are provided inhalers. Heart patients are provided with hypertension medication. Mental health patient receive appropriate medication for their bi-polar, depression, anxiety or schizophrenia diagnoses. Patients with diabetes can purchase a meter, strips, testing solution, lancets and device for $18 which is considerably less than what pharmacies charge for these supplies. A box of 50 strips is just $6. Many of our patients cannot even pay the $18 for the initial kit let alone monthly cost for the strips. Yet, they receive their supplies because the clinic budget covers the cost for those who cannot afford the diabetes testing supplies. Total cost to the clinic for diabetes supplies is $4,000 a year. The value of Crescent Community Clinic services since January 1 to date was $3,734,030. Our budget is less than $100,000. Budget is comparatively low because of the volunteers who staff the clinic and the licensed provider who provide services. The clinic averages between 5,000 to 6,000 patient visits each year. The value of this health care was $1,640,750 last year. Crescent Community Clinic partners are Hernando Community Health Partnership Plan, NAMI, Bayfront Brooksville Hospital, St. Petersburg College, BayCare Health Center, Saint Leo University, American Health Institute, ATA Career Academy, Career Source, University of South Florida and Gulf Coast North Area Health Education Center.
All patients who use tobacco products are required to attend the smoking cessation program and are provide with nicotine patches and other supplies to quit using tobacco products. Many of our patients have quit smoking.
Bayfront Hospital Brooksville has donated 600 lab vouchers every year since 2010. The value of these vouchers is in the millions of dollars. Patients receive a voucher at least twice a year if not more. Thank you for the opportunity to bring our message to you today. I invite you to visit our website www.crescentclinc.org or our Facebook. If you wish to have a tour of the clinic call administration office 352-610-9916 and we will be happy to show you our 4 exam rooms, 3 dental operatory, lab, 2 counseling rooms, offices, reception offices and education room and a waiting room full of patients on any clinic day.
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