(WEST PALM BEACH, FL) Guests at FoundCare Health Center on October 4th learned that the local nonprofit community health center is being cited as a prime example of how plans for healthcare reform will benefit local residents of Palm Beach County. The event celebrated the announcement of FoundCare’s new Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) Look-Alike status, the first of its kind in Florida, and acknowledged healthcare advocates and supporters who had made the milestone possible. The keynote for the morning was delivered by Rear Admiral Donald L. Weaver, M.D., Assistant Surgeon General for United States Public Health Service and Deputy Associate Administrator for Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA.)
"FoundCare is now part of a nationwide network of health centers that delivers high quality healthcare to people who might otherwise go without," said Dr. Weaver. "Having access to a health home will make a huge difference for local families who need care."
When fully operational, FoundCare Health Center will be a full-service health center. This “one-stop shop” currently offers primary care and preventive services including medical diagnosis and treatment. Dental services and pharmacy services will be added in the future.
FoundCare Health Center opened its doors to the community in January 2009, and since that time, has provided medical care to more than 2,400 patients, many of whom are uninsured and underinsured.
“With three service providers and additional hours, we have significantly increased the number of new patients treated in 2010,” said Yolette Bonnet, chief executive officer for FoundCare Health Center. “We have the capacity in this building to see more than 10,000 unduplicated patients each year. But we still need to secure additional funding to maximize the use of this state-of-the-art medical home in order for it to include even more providers and equipment. In the meantime, the Look-Alike status we received helps to position us when we apply for full FQHC status and allows for additional benefits we can pass along to our patients.”
The FQHC Program designates health centers that provide essential primary and preventive health care services to low-income, medically underserved, and vulnerable populations that traditionally have limited access to affordable services and face the greatest barriers to care.
Thanks to the tremendous support from private donors, government grants and a gift of more than $1.8 million over the years from the Quantum Foundation, FoundCare Health Center patients receive affordable access to quality health care and preventive services, regardless of their ability to pay.
“Health care reform is just beginning and the road is a long one, but at the end there will be more access to quality care for all of our residents,” said Kerry Diaz, president of Quantum Foundation. “ Its success, however, depends on our collective efforts over the next few years to make sure the promise of coverage expansion is realized. We plan to build on our significant investments in community clinics to help them and boost the broader safety net in Palm Beach County. FoundCare is one solution to overcoming the inequalities in care that exist today. Quantum understands that the hard work of matching people to quality health care happens on the community level, and we are thankful and proud to be a partner in making those connections possible.”
Of FoundCare’s current patients, 77 percent do not have any health insurance, and they visited FoundCare an average of nearly three times per year for health concerns ranging from hypertension to diabetes, infectious disease, asthma, obesity, women’s health and other specialty care. More than 70 percent have incomes below the federal poverty level and they range from the age of infancy to 84-years-old, nearly two-thirds of which are female.
“With the gracious support of Quantum Foundation, other donors, and state and local healthcare advocates, we’ve been able to initiate core services while preparing to apply for federal support as a Federally Qualified Health Center,” said Bonnet. “FoundCare will continue to serve all patients, specifically the uninsured and underinsured.“
FoundCare Health Center is located at 2330 South Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach. To schedule an appointment or learn more about supporting FoundCare, please call FoundCare Health Center at 561.HEALTHY (561.432.5849) or visit www.foundcare.org.