This year-in-review, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the nation's first Community Health Center,focuses on Heart of Ohio's trailblazing future by looking back at what most empowered the "Community Health Center Movement" to take root and blossom throughout its heroic first half-century: Community partnerships.
Clearly, Heart of Ohio's is going back to our roots and putting the "community" back in our two Community Health Centers through a powerful and expanding network of corporate, social service, government and community partners, whom we acknowledge and spotlight in our 2014 Annual Report.
Welcome to the all-in-one personal health record and patient portal that lets you access your health information online and on the go!
Bienvenido al portal del paciente y registro medico personal todo en unoque le permiteacceder a suinformación de salud en línea y mientrasviaja.
This brochure explains the three ways that you can meet with one of our friendly, knowledgeable and professional Certified Application Counselors.
We are standing by to walk you through the step-by-step process of applying to obtain health insurance or renewing your application in order to remain covered.
Help Heart of Ohio Family Health provide compassionate and high-quality health care to Columbus individuals and families who are ailing, struggling, and may have nowhere else to turn. Use this donor card to designate your gift.
If you need information about dealing and controlling your diabetes follow the link here:
Why are cancer screenings important and when should you get them done you ask?
Read more about evidence-informed strategies to raise healthier eaters from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There are many benefits to participating in some physical activity, but what are these benefits exactly?
Eating nutritious and healthy meals can be affordable, and a new cookbook from the Tulane Prevention Research Center gives residents in New Orleans and across the country a guide.
With 80 pages of recipes and healthy eating tips, the Eat Dat! cookbook, which is available as a free, downloadable pdf, breaks down the costs and nutritional content of delicious and often quick meals.
Do my habits really affect my health? Yes, very much so. All of the major causes of death (such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and injury) can be prevented in part by making healthy lifestyle choices. Read the full article to learn more.
The Obama administration, in response to the criticism, acknowledges that high deductibles are an "important issue" but says the problem is part of longstanding insurance trends.
In The News
Community health centers growing in central Ohio amid Medicaid expansion
By Ben Sutherly
October 12, 2015
Last month, Candi Pringle quit her half-pack-a-day habit of 38 years.
Since then, Pringle's blood pressure has dropped, and her back pain has eased. When the urge to smoke surfaces, the 50-year-old Columbus woman said she goes for a walk instead.
She credits the positive health strides she has made in part to her local community health center on E. 17th Avenue. Known as St. Stephen's by many, it's part of PrimaryOne Health, formerly known as the Columbus Neighborhood Health Center.
Pringle is familiar with the stigma surrounding community health centers such as hers: It's just for people who are uninsured or on Medicaid.
But as a caseworker who has private health insurance through her employer, a managed-care organization, "I don't go anywhere else but there," Pringle said.
Federally qualified health centers, which receive grants under the Public Health Service Act's Section 330 and were set up to care for underserved populations, have worked to encourage more people to view them as Pringle does as they ride a wave of unprecedented growth, both in Ohio and nationwide.
Fed largely in recent years by new federal grants and the state's expansion of Medicaid — both authorized by the Affordable Care Act — community health centers have flourished across Ohio.
They've added branches and health-care services, expanded their hours and bulked up their staffs.
Statewide, there now are 45 federally qualified health centers with at least 244 sites. That's an increase from 23 centers and 110 sites in 2002, according to the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers.
All told, in federal fiscal year 2014, these health centers employed the equivalent of 3,275 full-time workers, an increase of 22 percent from just two years earlier, according to the Bureau of Primary Health Care.
The expansion is part of an effort to make sure that previously uninsured people who are gaining coverage through the Medicaid expansion and the health-insurance marketplaces can access care.
Federally qualified health centers offer some of the most comprehensive primary-care safety nets for the community, tending not just to a person's immediate illness but to his or her overall health.
Those centers deserve taxpayer support, said Randy Runyon, CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers. Their absence would mean a less-healthy workforce that would be less attractive to employers.
"It makes good economic sense," Runyon said. "It makes good moral sense as well."
Community health centers in Ohio snagged nearly $29 million in federal grants in fiscal year 2015.
"The growth of community health centers means that more of the people of Columbus and Franklin County have insurance, can get preventative care, continuity of care and a full range of care so that the children are ready to learn and the adults are ready to earn," said Charleta B. Tavares, who is the new CEO for PrimaryOne while also working as a Democratic state senator from Columbus.
Last year, PrimaryOne received $5.3 million from the city of Columbus to fund care for the uninsured, as well as nearly $5 million in federal grant funding, supplementing about $11.6 million in program revenue for patient care.
PrimaryOne has expanded beyond Columbus, most recently adding locations in Dublin and Circleville. As required by federal law, patients — including Pringle — make up a majority of its 13-member board.
And it has been a pioneer in Ohio by adding services not typically offered in a community health setting.
In partnership with Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, PrimaryOne has in the past two years added specialty services such as cardiology, physical therapy and dermatology at the city-built and PrimaryOne-leased John R. Maloney South Side Health Center on Parsons Avenue.
Within the past year, it also has begun integrating behavioral health care at its sites.
Like other community health centers, PrimaryOne also has increased its staff of certified application counselors to help people sign up for Medicaid or private coverage, often subsidized, through the federally run health-insurance marketplace.
Statewide, 53 percent of patients at Ohio's federally qualified health centers were enrolled in Medicaid in 2014, an increase from 43 percent the previous year. Meanwhile, the percentage of patients who were uninsured dropped to 19 percent, from 32 percent.
As a result, PrimaryOne has seen its Medicaid reimbursement soar from less than $4 million in 2013 to a projected $7.2 million this year.
Southeast Inc., which has a strong focus on behavioral health care, also has seen a historic shift in its patients, with the percentage of those insured soaring to 84 percent this year, from 41 percent in 2011, said Sandy Stephenson, director of integrated health services for Southeast, which has a main location on W. Long Street and another on W. Broad Street.
Patient visits are on track to reach 8,000 this year, up from 2,400 four years earlier.
As a result of an influx of federal dollars through grants and Medicaid expansion, Southeast has offered more psychiatric care integrated with primary health care.
"We began seeing people ... who had not seen a primary-care doctor for years," Stephenson said.
The organization has expanded to seven full-time doctors and nurse practitioners. As part of its expansion, it plans to staff a dental clinic 20 hours a week, perhaps in the next few months, and intends to eventually expand those hours to 30 to 40 a week as soon as late next year.
People derive greater benefit from integrated health care than from going to an emergency department, "especially when you're serving people who have complex conditions," Stephenson said.
Lower Lights Christian Health Center, whose main location is on W. Broad Street in Franklinton, has expanded to seven patient-care sites and expects to have 15,000 patients by 2017, up from about 11,000 currently.
Last month, its pharmacy on W. Broad began to fill prescriptions on a sliding pay scale for patients who earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The arrangement could mean that patients save an estimated total of $100,000 or more in drug costs annually.
Lower Lights also is in the planning stages of opening a nonprofit grocery at its main location to improve the immediate area's access to fresh fruits and vegetables, said Ann Schiele, Lower Lights' chief strategy officer.
"We'll have educational information throughout the grocery store," Schiele said, adding that she hopes the grocery will receive broad community support.
It's all part of Lower Lights founder and CEO Dr. Dana Vallangeon's vision for holistic health, Schiele said.
Another health center, Heart of Ohio Family Health, doesn't plan to add to its two care sites, though it plans to expand hours and needs more space at its Whitehall location and more providers at its Capital Park location on Innis Road, CEO Marty Miller said.
Heart of Ohio also is planning to add pediatric services. And the number of staff members has grown to 55, from 39 three years ago, Miller said.
But Miller and PrimaryOne's Tavares said that one factor potentially limiting future growth is attracting medical professionals. Miller noted that it's difficult to compete with the pay and benefits offered by local hospital systems.
The most recent state budget included an Ohio primary-care workforce initiative that will supply federally qualified health-care centers with $2.7 million annually to help fund more clinical-rotation slots for medical, behavioral-health and dental students, as well as advanced-practice nursing and physician-assistant students, said Julie DiRossi-King, chief operating officer of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers.
Officials hope that greater exposure to community health centers will draw more young professionals to work in that setting after finishing their schooling.
"We really want someone who has the heart for this work and is a good team player," Miller said.
LITTLE RAMS ROUND-UP: District plans welcome for new kindergartners
By DEBORAH M. DUNLAP
April 6, 2015
Whitehall City School officials are setting their sights on some of the littlest lambs in 'Ram Country' as they launch a new program, Little Rams Round-Up, this month.
Little Rams are not actually lambs, but the youngest students in Whitehall, those set to enter kindergarten during the 2015-16 school year.
While kindergarten registration has always existed in Whitehall, the district's executive director of elementary education, Darrell Propst, thought providing a more encompassing experience would make parents feel at home.
"We want families' first experience with Whitehall schools to be a very positive one," Propst said. "It's always helpful to get to know parents and families as soon as possible."
Instead of merely handing in the required paperwork, Whitehall families are now invited to an event meant to be a one-stop experience.
Parents of incoming kindergartners will be able to pick up registration materials, tour a kindergarten classrooms, pick up information and resources on child healthcare, and participate in free games and crafts meant to make the newest 'Rams' feel comfortable.
Representatives from the city of Whitehall, the Whitehall Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Whitehall Family Health Center (part of the Heart of Ohio Family Health Centers), and the C. Ray Williams Early Childhood Development Center, among others, will be on hand, said Propst.
Young ones will be able to meet the Columbus Clippers mascot, Krash, as well as win prizes.
A free dinner also will be served.
Propst admitted that in the modern day and age when student testing is becoming more and more prominent -- even at the kindergarten level -- it's imperative that parents know what is expected of their children. Last year was the first year for the state's new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment -- called the KRA -- replacing the former KRA-L.
The assessment focuses not only on language and literacy, but physical well-being, motor skill development, math, science, social studies and social skills.
According to Propst, the test is being tweaked again this year -- to be shorter and more focused.
The new assessment "is not a barrier to kindergarten entry" according to the Ohio Department of Education. Instead, the results are meant to provide teachers with a better understanding of each student, identifying educational strengths and weaknesses early. The new kindergarten test also can be used to meet the state's reading diagnostic assessment required for Ohio's Third Grade Reading Guarantee if language and literacy items are administered by Sept. 30.
But Propst said the Round-Up will be all about gaining knowledge and having fun. Teachers and other staff members from each of the district's three elementary schools will be on hand to provide parents with information -- and a few comforting words.
The Little Rams Round-Up is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at Kae Avenue Elementary School, 4738 Kae Ave. Advance registration is not required.
In order to be eligible for kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year, children must be 5 years old by Sept. 30, 2015.
BROOKLINE'S DR. RENU SONI JOINS HARVARD VANGUARD PRACTICE
July 19, 2014
Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates has welcomed Dr. RenuSoni to its internal medicine department in Kenmore.
Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates is a multispecialty physician practice with offices across eastern Massachusetts and is an affiliate of Atrius Health.
Soni is board certified in internal medicine and received her medical degree from Lady Harding Medical College in New Delhi, India. She completed an internal medicine residency program at South Shore Medical Center in Westchester, N.Y.
Prior to joining Harvard Vanguard, Soni was medical director at the Capital Park Family Health Centers in Columbus, Ohio.
YOUR GUIDE TO THE HEALTH-CARE ACT: Groups aim to untangle Health-Care Act process
By Ben Sutherly
September 29, 2013
For 3 1/2 years, politicians and pundits have prognosticated and debated the eventual impact of President Barack Obama's signature health-care overhaul.
On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans will finally get the information they need to make up their own minds about what the overhaul means for them.
On that date, new federally run health-insurance marketplaces for individuals launch in Ohio and dozens of other states. Enrollment will continue for six months, through March.
Between 142,000 and 166,000 uninsured Ohioans are expected to gain private health coverage by June, mostly through the new individual insurance marketplace, according to a Health Policy Institute of Ohio estimate. But that figure also includes a few people who will take up coverage through their employers to comply with a new mandate.
Many with moderate incomes are likely to qualify for financial help through both cost-sharing subsidies and tax credits that will help pay for insurance premiums.
Most people who shop the online marketplace will do so through the website www.healthcare.gov, although applying in person and by telephone also will be possible. For assistance, they can contact a Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.
Several organizations in central Ohio will help with the sign-up effort.
Officials said the process should take at least an hour if the enrollee has done some work ahead of time.
For example, people who plan to buy coverage will need to have the Social Security number, employer information and income information for each member of their household who needs coverage (pay stubs or W-2 forms, for example), and policy numbers for any current health-insurance plans that cover members of their household.
And they will need to know the smoking status for any person for whom coverage is being bought. Having a list of past doctors and prescription drugs also will help expedite the process.
Once people have done that homework, they can turn to several places for help, starting on Tuesday.
In central Ohio, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks will serve as the gateway to a host of partner groups with which it is splitting nearly $2 million in federal navigator grants. The grant money will go toward hiring 30 to 40 workers who will help educate consumers interested in buying coverage through the marketplace. Each navigator must undergo at least 20 hours of training.
Local and federally qualified community health centers will provide similar assistance through certified application counselors — jobs funded with nearly $500,000 in federal money. In Franklin County, each of four community health centers will hire at least one full-time person to help with the effort.
Such organizations have faced considerable challenges in ensuring within only a few weeks that new and existing employees have the training they need to educate consumers, many of whom know little, if anything, about the new marketplace, said Heather Porter, the director of program development for the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers.
The federal government is buying radio and TV ads that will begin on Tuesday in Ohio and other states. And a nonprofit organization that supports the health-care law, Enroll America, has launched a campaign to get people covered. With 12 paid staff members and 600 volunteers, it has made contact with thousands of Ohioans, said Trey Daly, Enroll America's director in Ohio.
There is considerable interest among insurance brokers and agents in becoming certified to sell coverage through the marketplaces, said Lee Nathans of the Ohio Association of Health Underwriters.
And health insurers also plan to raise awareness of the marketplace in the coming weeks and months. CareSource, for example, has 16 educational sessions planned in October in Columbus alone.
Although subsidies will be significant in many cases, some people note that health-insurance coverage available through the marketplace isn't a handout.
"This is insurance," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, the executive director of the food-banks association. "There will be premiums; there will be out-of-pocket expenses and co-pays.
"And for individuals who have not had access to health insurance, this may be very unfamiliar to them. This isn't like using a Medicaid or a Medicare card."