Closure Leaves Healthcare Gap

Posted on August 27, 2013

Closure Leaves Healthcare Gap

by Sarah Spagnola, CNNC Summer Intern

More than 20,000 people will lose their primary source of healthcare at the end of August when the HealthServe Community Health Clinic closes its doors. Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine, Inc., which operated HealthServe, announced July 30 that they would be closing their adult clinic in Greensboro effective August 30. TAPM’s pediatric practices and its adult clinic in High Point will not be affected by the closure.

In a notice sent out to Guilford Community Care Network health providers, TAPM primarily attributed HealthServe’s closure to two factors: the loss of historical funding from community partners and the State of North Carolina’s decision not to expand Medicaid. The end of HealthServe’s operations in Greensboro marks the beginning of a major crisis for many of CNNC’s immigrant and refugee clients as well as for others in the community who lack health insurance. Many people who were unable to obtain Medicaid or private insurance received primary care through HealthServe and were able to get their medications for free or at a reduced cost.

“It’s going to have a very negative impact, because for some people (HealthServe) was the only choice they had” said Krycya L. Flores Rojas, IHAP Latino Lay Health Advisor for CNNC’s Immigrant Health ACCESS Project (IHAP).

“Now, virtually their only other choice is the emergency room unless other primary providers are available. In IHAP, we try to keep people from having to use the ER, so this happening for us is like taking 5 steps back.”

H’Tuyet “Snow” Rahlan Joyce, Asian Lay Health Advisor for IHAP, notes that the closure leaves many of her clients unsure of where to go to send their medical records.

“Once in a while someone who goes to the (congregational health clinic) will call you directly and say ‘I had a mammogram today, and the radiology clinic asked me where I wanted to send the records, and I can’t send it to HealthServe because it’s closed.’ And I have no answer for them as of yet,” said Snow.

According to Snow, some patients formerly eligible for services through HealthServe are turning to the Congregational Nurse Program in search of care. However, nurses in the already-busy program can’t prescribe medications, leaving IHAP to find primary care for patients elsewhere.  Snow is working closely with Guilford Community Care Network (GCCN) to find out if patients previously eligible for services from HealthServe can receive care at general medical clinics in the area. Many of these clinics are likely to be swamped with patients already.

CNNC Research Fellows and staff have identified the finding of culturally appropriate health care for at-risk newcomers with the closure of HealthServe as a top research and intervention priority for the coming academic year. The Fellows decided at a recent emergency meeting to do whatever possible to help address this crisis. Research Fellows are asking local university and college faculties to engage students in addressing the crisis as part of their coursework. Efforts could include explaining the situation to at-risk families, helping clients with paperwork, or solving transportation issues. There is also a need for people with specialized skills. Student volunteers and interns with health backgrounds, bilingual volunteers, and others will be recruited to help families with this extremely difficult challenge.  Fellows will also research other cities and look for successful models.

CNNC will post updated Guilford County health information on its website with attention to resources and any changes in procedures for Orange Card holders and others with limited health access as they try and find new medical homes.

The local Guilford Community Care Network (GCCN) is attempting to coordinate efforts to address the crisis at this time.  Coordinator, Lisa Duck, sent the following update to providers on August 16, showing the latest information.


HealthServe Key Closing Information

1.       Last day for patient appointments was Friday August 9, 2013.

2.       Last day for patients to put in refills for the HealthServe Pharmacy is August 23, 2013.

3.       Last day for patients or agencies to get forms or requests in including prescription refills for outside pharmacies is 12noon August 26, 2013.

4.       Last day for patients to pick up already requested prescriptions from the HealthServe Pharmacy is August 29, 2013.

5.       HealthServe will officially close for all business on August 30, 2013 at 3:00pm.

6.       Patients and agencies can continue to request Medical Records by calling the HealthServe phone number 336-271-5999 and leave a message on the general delivery voicemail box through September 20, 2013. The recording will give information about what to do after September 20, 2013.

7.       Provider offices and agencies needing authorizations or NPI numbers can  call the HealthServe phone number 336-271-5999 and leave a message on the general delivery voicemail box through September 20, 2013. The recording will give information about what to do after September 20, 2013.

8.       TAPM is working with THN (Triad Health Network) and GCCN to try to find medical homes for some of the high risk and uninsured patients. Targeted high risk populations are: Coumadin patients, CHF, COPD, Diabetes, Asthma and Chronic Kidney Disease.

9.       The HealthServe Pharmacy will transfer all active prescriptions to a local pharmacy.  (Lane Drug or Walgreens).

10.   Notices will be posted in the pharmacy at HealthServe next week and on the office door.

If you have additional questions please contact Michelle Lewis, COO at 336-355-9698 or Regina Edwards, Practice Administrator at 336-271-5999 x340.

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