“Every August, nation-wide we celebrate community health centers,” Lisa Jackson, vice president of marketing and development for HealthSource, said.
Jackson said for HealthSource, it is about celebrating their growth, which includes two new centers in the Clermont County area, and also educating the public about what they do.
“We have all the look of a private doctor’s office and then some,” Jackson said.
Jackson said during National Health Center Week, HealthSource participates by hosting open houses and also invites government officials to come learn more about their services and also their needs.
Brad Wenstrup, the Republican candidate for the second congressional district, stopped by the new Eastgate health center Aug. 9 to speak with HealthSource board members and employees and get a tour of the office.
“This looks beautiful,” Wenstrup said about the new facility, which opened in May this year.
The Eastgate facility offers pediatric medicine, behavioral health services and will soon offer dentistry to members of the community regardless of their economic status.
The facility, along with a new facility in New Richmond, cost a combined $9.7 million, but were both funded by a grant provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was passed by congress in 2009 to create new jobs, save existing jobs and encourage economic development.
Julie DiRossi-King, called HealthSource an economic engine because of more than 300 jobs it has created in the area.
Wenstrup spoke with DiRossi-King and HealthSource officials Kim Patton, CEO, Pat Hays, board chair, and Ann Fath, Eastgate practice manager, about the services HealthSource offers and challenges health centers face in the community.
They talked about many primary care services HealthSource offers at all of their 12 facilities throughout southwest Ohio, including adult health care, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, dentistry, psychiatry, behavioral health, pharmacy and more.
They discussed some of the challenges of health centers including the ongoing trend of residents going to the emergency room when they could be treated at a health center.
DiRossi-King said nearly $1 billion is spent in the ER each year on ailments that are not considered an emergency.
“That’s the mentality that has to change,” Wenstrup said.
Jackson said her hopes from Wenstrup’s visit is that he was able to see how efficient and cost effective the health center is run.
“I hope he takes away that HealthSource is a well-run organization that meets the needs of the community,” Jackson said.
DiRossi-King said National Health Center Week is an opportunity to spread the word about what services health centers provide in the community on a regular basis.
“It’s a great opportunity for the local and state level to shine the spotlight on all of the successes,” DiRossi-King, said about health centers.