A new option for patients with no insurance

Lakeland Regional Family Health Center aims to save ER visits by offering medical care to patients with non-emergencies

After a year of intense and strategic planning the Family Health Center opened on Wednesday, July 10. Cindy Sternlicht, director of public relations and marketing communications for Lakeland Regional Medical Center explains, “As of now, the Center is only seeing uninsured patients, but they have to be referred there from our emergency room. So basically, uninsured patients can expect quality care and a medical home.”
On opening day the clinic gave 29 patients medical care. Sternlicht adds, “The response was very positive, with patients especially happy to now have a source of on-going medical care. Our initial projection was for 10,000 patients in the first year, but we will reassess that once we have a month’s worth of actual data.”
If you are referred to Lakeland Regional Family Health Center from the emergency department you may go to the center directly or make an appointment for a time that is more fitting to your schedule. After the initial visit of being treated at the Family Health Center you may then come back to the center for any follow-up appointments or for future treatment while not having to go through the emergency department again, unless of course, you have a real emergency.
Some of the services the Lakeland Regional Family Health Center provides are wellness examinations, physicals for preventive maintenance, and personal illness visits. Chronic disease management care is another availability at the center.
Treatment for those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and high cholesterol are available as well as for non-emergency ailments such as coughs and earaches. This names just a few of the services patients without insurance may expect to receive from the center.
The costs for the center are absorbed by Lakeland Regional Medical Center, which is already carrying the costs of patients that come through the emergency room who cannot afford health insurance. Coming to the Family Health Center will be a less-costly alternative.
Kim Walker, Lakeland Regional Medical Center’s associate vice-president for ambulatory services explains, “There’s a community need for more primary care, particularly for those with no insurance. Our mission is not just to treat illnesses but to also provide preventive care, health screenings, and management of chronic conditions.”
Dr. David Croteau, a board-certified family practice physician at Lakeland Regional Family Health Center concurs, “By taking care of patients’ chronic problems, like diabetes or heart failure, we can improve their overall health and reduce their need for emergency care. We will also be the starting point for all their medical needs.”
story by DALE BLISS

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