Health Care Access clinic eliminates wait time, expands services

In late January, Health Care Access added three new staff members and expanded the clinic's hours. Now the clinic is able to schedule same-day appointments for qualified patients, and no longer has to turn away requests for urgent care appointments. New hires from left are Patricia Neis, nurse practitioner, Brenda Waite, registered nurse, and Marie Daniels, office assistant.

In late January, Health Care Access added three new staff members and expanded the clinic's hours. Now the clinic is able to schedule same-day appointments for qualified patients, and no longer has to turn away requests for urgent care appointments. New hires from left are Patricia Neis, nurse practitioner, Brenda Waite, registered nurse, and Marie Daniels, office assistant. by Mike Yoder

Uninsured residents no longer have to turn to Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s emergency room for medical care.

There is now no wait for an appointment at Health Care Access, a medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured Douglas County residents across the street from the ER at 330 Maine.

For the past two years, the average wait for an appointment at Health Care Access was three months — unless you were one of the lucky few to get a slot left open for acute care. Those few slots were filled within minutes of turning on the phones.

In late January, Health Care Access added a nurse practitioner, nurse and office assistant, thanks to $300,000 in donations and grants. The additional staff allowed the clinic to expand hours.

The clinic went from 272 on-site medical appointments in January to 503 in February.

“I am just tickled that there was an immediate change to our wait time. That was one of the goals because people were turning to the emergency room if they couldn’t get in, and it exceeded our expectations,” said Nikki King, executive director.

Health Care Access continues to expand its wellness and mental health services by adding staff and volunteers. In 2010, there were 113 appointments for mental health, and 155 for wellness.

The clinic’s next goals are to reach out to uninsured residents who might not know about its services and expanded hours, and also to get people to be more proactive about health.

“We want them to come in for their annual exams and preventive services instead of waiting until there is a crisis,” King said.


WELLNESS PARTY

Health Care Access is having a Health, Wellness and BBQ Bash and the community is invited.

The event will be from noon to 5 p.m. April 8 at the clinic, 330 Maine. There will be free health screenings, interactive activities, wellness information, food and prizes.

Tagged: low-income, poverty, uninsured, Health Care Access, Lawrence Memorial Hospital

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