Butler County clinic gets grant
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In nearly five years of operation, the Community Health Clinic of Butler County has had about 7,000 visits by patients with little or no medical insurance seeking treatments for conditions from toothaches to arthritis.
A newly received $10,000 grant from the American Medical Association Foundation will allow the free, nonprofit clinic to extend its reach to at least 50 more in a program that involves managing diabetes.
Executive director Cecelia Buechele Foster said the grant is significant for its infusion of money but it's even more meaningful for the recognition it signals.
"This is the first time a national organization has recognized the good work we're doing at the clinic. It's the icing on the cake. Nationwide, they only awarded five for diabetic education, and we were one of them," she said, noting that none of the other four grants was awarded in Pennsylvania.
The money will be used for diabetic education materials as well as supplies related to the treatment of diabetes.
The clinic began a diabetes program two years ago and included the results in its grant application to the AMA Foundation.
"We have pledged to bring down [blood sugar] levels in one year, beginning with a pre-test assessment of [patients'] knowledge of their illness and ending with a retest that gauges the effectiveness of the education program and their levels," Ms. Foster said.
A description of the program notes: "Our goal is to lesson the burden of diabetes by providing planned and proven interventions such as diabetic education, primary care services and medications."
The clinic staff had about 2,000 visits last year. In all, some 3,400 individual patients have been treated since the free clinic opened.
It has an annual operating budget of $500,000. The patients are people who are under-insured or without insurance but who are income-eligible for participation.
Income limits depend on family size, but Ms. Foster said the patient pool generally earns too much money to qualify for medical assistance but not enough to afford health care coverage.
"A lot of the people who come to us have had a job that had health care coverage, but they lost it along with their jobs," she said.
The health clinic opened Jan. 15, 2008, in a 4,700-square-foot converted warehouse at the Eagle Commercial Center in the Bonnie Brook Industrial Park in Summit and Butler townships.
The clinic was opened with about $1.2 million from corporate gifts, grants and donations from individuals and civic groups.
It has minimal paid staff but a corps of volunteers that includes doctors, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, retired teachers, accountants, screeners, pharmacists and support staff.
Information: 724-841-0980 or www.amafoundation.org
First Published August 16, 2012 5:02 am