County health clinic expanding services PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Friday, 02 November 2012 10:11
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Caroline Strzesynski, CNP, checks Christina Veitch's blood pressure at the Health and Wellness Center formerly The Wood County Health Department. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
For years, the Wood County Health Department has offered services at its clinic for people unable to get health care elsewhere. Now, with the new name of Wood County Community Health and Wellness Center, the facility hopes to offer even more.
"We always were a health home for the underinsured," said Ben Batey, director of nursing services at the health department and CEO of the new center.
But now, center officials hope to become the "health home" for any local residents seeking care.
And they want people to seek services before their health problems become serious.
"They go without care for long periods of time," Batey said of many uninsured patients who put off treatment until they have no other alternative than a hospital emergency room. "We can address their health issue before that."
An estimated 15 percent of Wood County residents lack health care insurance. The health and wellness center will offer services to that population, plus anyone else who is looking for a "health home."
Also different will be the creation of a board of directors, with six of the 11 board members required to be consumers of care from the center.
"The patients actually have direct say in how the center is run," Batey said.
The change in clinic services was brought about when the health department was approved as a "Federally Qualified Health Center Look Alike." Such health centers provide:
• A health home for underserved people, improving public health, reducing the burden on hospital emergency rooms, and providing needed services such as free immunizations for uninsured children.
• A voice in the operation of the health center, through the consumer majority board of directors.
• Broader health insurance coverage as the health center assists uninsured patients enroll in Medicaid and other assistance programs.
• Less costly care for Medicare patients, whose deductible costs are waived.
The Medicaid reimbursement, combined with a newly implemented $10 service fee for patients will help reduce the burden on the health department's levy.
The newly granted FQHCLA status will also allow the health department to apply for new grant funding. It may also allow the center to offer medication and vaccines for reduced prices.
"We can pass that savings onto the consumers," Batey said.
Ultimately, the health and wellness center could become a "one-stop shop" for medications and health care.
Scheduling at the health center will also be changed to create more availability for emergency appointments, according to Diane Krill, COO of the center.
"We're trying to streamline that process," Krill said.
Patients will continue to be charged on a sliding fee scale according to their ability to pay. The center recently enacted a $10 per visit fee, but Batey said those who can't afford that amount will not be denied care.
"We will never turn anyone away for inability to pay," he said.
Anyone who needs health care can receive services.
"We feel that anybody in Wood County should have medical services," Batey said. "There is a place for them to go."

Services:
• Primary care
• Preventive health services
• Immunizations
• Prenatal care
• Women's health care
• Sexually transmitted infection testing
• Pediatrics
• Senior health care
• Men's health care
Services are for:
People of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status can receive services. Fees are based on income. A $10 service fee is requested from all patients to help offset the cost of care.
Where is clinic:
The center is located in the Wood County Health District building at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. Satellite locations are also available in North Baltimore, Northwood, Perrysburg and Bradner.
How to contact:
The center can be contacted at (419) 354-9049 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2012 10:26
 

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