110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Hatfield
posted Jan 21, 2011 - 8:47:24am
Many people enjoyed a day off from work on West Volusia’s wet and rainy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17.
Electricians, other contractors, and staff, however, were hard at work at Family Health Source
Family Health Source Medical Clinic at 844 W. Plymouth Ave. is operated by Northeast Florida Health Services under contract with the West Volusia Hospital Authority. Doctors there see 60-70 patients a day, including clients who have West Volusia Hospital Authority Health Cards, those with Medicaid, those with private insurance, and those who pay fees on a sliding scale.
The Hospital Authority opened the DeLand clinic, along with others in Pierson and Deltona, in an effort to reduce the number of low-income people using expensive hospital emergency rooms for basic health care.
The Hospital Authority owns the clinic space, and purchased the second space at a cost of $365,000 to double the size of the DeLand clinic. Renovations included replacing 1970s shag carpet with tile in the new space, and, when finished, will provide three exam rooms instead of two for each of three doctors. The business office will also be moved from Pierson to DeLand. The total cost of renovating both new and existing spaces is $265,000.
Northeast Florida Health Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, contracts with the Hospital Authority to provide some of its services, including an emergency-room diversion program, which alleviates backups in hospital emergency departments and saves taxpayer money to cover the cost of that treatment. Treatment at the medical center costs much less than emergency-room treatment, and saves millions in Medicaid dollars each year.
Treatment at the clinic also ensures people get regular care for chronic conditions. When they’re in financial difficulty, people often postpone medical treatment. Then, one condition, such as diabetes, may be compounded by yet another serious and related health threat, such as heart disease, by the time a patient sees a doctor, Northeast Florida Health Services Director Kathy Wilkes said.
Services are not just for the indigent.
“Anybody can come to the clinic,” Wilkes said. “A patient is a patient to us, regardless of how they’re going to pay the bill.”
The Family Health Source clinic in DeLand and its sister clinics in Deltona and Pierson are three of only about 1,250 community-health centers operated across the U.S. and its territories in conjunction with the National Association of Community Health Centers. Begun 46 years ago, Wilkes said, these centers care for 20 million Americans, focusing on the basic health-care needs of the communities they serve.
The expansion hasn’t been easy. Plans were worked and reworked. Getting permits from the City of DeLand Building Department took longer than expected.
On Jan. 17, some door openings were still covered with wood. Shipment of the new doors had been delayed by snowstorms in Georgia.
Wilkes is glad to be staying at the same location, near Florida Hospital-DeLand. The proximity helps the emergency-room diversion program, she said.
“I’m excited as I can be,” Wilkes said.
For more information on services at the clinics, call 386-738-2422 in DeLand, 386-532-0515 in Deltona, or 386-749-9449 in Pierson.
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