After cutting expenses, downsizing staff, appointing new leaders to executive positions and appealing to the community for financial support, Grace Clinic, a medical center which treats low-income families lacking health insurance, announced it returned to its normal three-day operation, which also includes evening hours on some days.
The facility, located on 170 Claremont St., resumed its Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.schedule, according to management. Tuesday evening hours are available too in the first, second and fourth weeks of the month at 6 p.m.
Last September, Grace Clinic found itself sinking in a financial pitfall after its former executive director dropped the ball on securing funds for the facility. On Sept. 30, 2013, the clinic discovered that funds were not available to meet payroll obligations. The facility was just days away from ceasing operation.
Grace Clinic Interim Executive Director Mary Ford Keller said Grace Clinic Board of Directors implemented multiple procedures to ensure that the clinic management team stays ahead on funding challenges. One of the techniques was the hiring of an expert who focuses on procuring grants.
“It’s because of that work on why we have received funding,” said Keller.
According to Keller, Grace Clinic was temporarily stabilized by an outpouring of support and multiple gifts from the community. Several months ago, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office approved $23,500 in funding, which amounted to 10 percent of the annual budget for the charity health clinic.
However, the primary score leading hope for the clinic was due to a recent $115,000 grant to be disbursed on a reimbursement basis by the NC Office of Rural Health and Community Care (ORHCC). The funding will continue through June 2015.
According to Keller, the facility is now providing an integrated form of health care to its patients in compliance with the grant. The clinic pulled in CareNet Counseling of Wilkes County, which now also sees patients at the facility. The one-two punch approach to health is integrative health management, an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes a synergy between health protection and health promotion in order to improve the health of patients through comprehensive risk reduction.
“Across the spectrum, it’s a style of care that you now see being adopted at many health care facilities,” said Keller.
According to Clinical Resident Will Eads of CareNet, the effort aims to promote healthy behaviors such as tobacco cessation, weight control, healthy diet, physical activity and adherence to screening guidelines. Integrative health management addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.
“People are already living below the federal poverty level. They just need a little guidance… We are here for them,” said Eads.
Keller said that Grace Clinic is now accepting new patients. “Our patients are between the ages of 18 and 64 and have no health insurance. Some exceptions may apply; call and ask us. Their annual household income must be at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level for the size of the household.
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.