The local health care for the homeless and public housing resident's Clinic under the Direction of Care Alliance had a ribbon cutting in March 2015. This brings a free and low cost health care facility to the Central neighborhood. This will be a big boost to those at Cedar Extension Apartments and the new units being developed across from Tri-C. Those lower income tenants at Arbor Park and the many others around Sterling Library have a health care home now. Why is this so important for a community? And the other question this important in the era of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?
It is tremendous to have this expansion of health insurance in Ohio with the Medicaid expansion, but if the closest clinic is 60 blocks away there is still a hole. Transportation is a huge barrier to maintain proper health care. The elderly and fragile disabled populations served by these health clinics cannot travel long distances for health care. They will if forced to, but will make better health choices if the clinic is convenient. Those in need of healthcare will wait until things are serious before they see a doctor. They will not want to wait in the emergency room for something that is not debilitating, but may walk over to the clinic to get it checked out.
These Care Alliance clinics also have oral health care which is often overlooked, but can become serious. It is often a sign of serious health issues or can start in the mouth and infection can spread to other parts of the body. Oral health can make it difficult to process food, and can make it difficult to find stable employment. This may mean that the individual is not taking in protein or able to eat healthy. It may then spiral into an inability to get to sleep and the body begins to shut down. It is a sad reality but with a glut of labor in the core city, employers often make the decision on whom to hire based on appearance. The women without front teeth no matter how qualified is going to have a harder time getting a job. We had a formerly homeless guy who regularly came to our office and refused to talk to groups of three or more. Then he got healthcare last year with the ACA and all the rest of his teeth were taken out because of neglect and a gum disease. After a couple of months, he was fitted for dentures so that he could digest food and now is regularly talking to larger and larger groups about his experiences.
This facility has pediatrics care and a women's clinic as it opened on April 1, 2015. We have had people who stay outside in need of care and would not go to the emergency room that received help from a Care Alliance doctor. Outreach workers do find people living all over the city in places not fit for human habitation, and can stop into one of their clinics for help. Care Alliance offers a medical home to those displaced and wandering throughout the city. This new clinic features a pharmacy as well. It will only help to sign people up for health care insurance and maintain their eligibility. This will be especially important if the State of Ohio keeps kicking people off the Medicaid Program, because they did not answer a long re-determination questionnaire.
It is a beautiful facility which will help get homeless and low income people access to health care. This will contribute to a healthier community.
There is a nice article in the Plain Dealer today.
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.