Clark County Board of Health recognized Battle Ground HealthCare’s Executive Director, Sue Neal, with a 2017 Clark County Public Health Community award for her commitment as a leader in public health services. As the Executive Director of the non-profit Battle Ground HealthCare, Sue has worked to address and expand free healthcare services to the hurting and hopeless in the community who struggle with chronic health issues.
Sue’s passion throughout her career has been to promote wellness through community outreach and collaboration. Under Sue’s dedicated guidance, Battle Ground HealthCare has opened up new programs, such as the recently added Rehabilitation Services, which expands the clinic’s role in helping those who are underserved and underinsured in north Clark County. Battle Ground HealthCare has forged on-going partnerships within the community and leads over 90 caring volunteer professionals and staff in making a positive health difference in hundreds of lives.
Dear Friends of Battle Ground HealthCare,
Spring is a lovely time of year: the days are warm and sunny, birds are singing, trees and flowers are blooming. Spring is full of promise, hope, excitement, and new energy.
In 2016 we ended the year by providing a total of $105,000 worth of dental services (serving approximately 50 patients a month)!
Our newly added Rehabilitation Services which includes occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, medical massage, & chiropractic services is growing rapidly. We are averaging 40 visits a month over the various disciplines and we have a waiting list.
Our Chronic Pain Course is also experiencing growth. We have a waiting list of people who would like to get into the nine- week program. Our next class is starting April 25th. We are excited to see referrals coming in from Community Services NW, Molina HealthCare, Vancouver Clinic, individual, our ad in the Reflector, and other community partners. This course is making a difference in people’s lives!
Vision referrals are improving the quality of life of many of our patients who have not had the opportunity to ‘see clearly’ for years. Our community partners, Richardson Eye of Battle Ground and Watters Vision Care, Inc. have been partnering with us since November 2016 to bring much-needed vision exams and providing glasses and extended referrals if necessary to our patient’s comprehensive scope of care.
Our Medical clinics are growing as well. We are adding an additional monthly clinic so as to serve the increasing demand. We are delighted to be serving more families in the community since we have been blessed with some very talented bilingual volunteers.
Below is a story from Nancy and David who found the clinic and the benefit they have experienced through the integrated care and case management services:
Grasping a page from the Reflector in her hand, Nancy opens the door to the building and started down the hallway. Approaching the first person she saw she pointed to the article and said “Is this where I find this clinic? Can you help me?” Nancy and her friend David had been homeless and living in their car for two months after having moved here from another state. Their prescriptions were running out, their health deteriorating and they needed help to even cover basics like food. The article in the Reflector describing Battle Ground HealthCare and their new Rehabilitation Services program caught their attention and gave them a glimmer of hope. They were not disappointed. Nancy was able see a physician, physical therapist, chiropractor, join the chronic pain program, obtain glasses and get assistance with medications and obtaining health insurance benefits in Washington. David has been able to see the physician, physical therapist, obtain glasses, been referred for mental health assistance, join the chronic pain program and get assistance with medications. Both Nancy and David were also referred to the Adventist Community Services in the building to assist with food and clothing. David proudly came to the pain class a few weeks ago, with a wide smile stating “Look at these glasses. What nice frames. Now I can see.” Nancy was so grateful for the programs we were able to offer them, stating “Everyone has been so nice. This has really helped more than you can know.”
Spring brings smiles to our faces; it is a time of new awakenings, bright sunny days, a time of revitalization. Please help us to add a smile, the promise of hope, health and healing in the lives of those in our community who are uninsured, underinsured, or unable to afford their health care premiums and are at or below the 300 percent of federal poverty level. Your gift can be made by mailing your check to Battle Ground HealthCare, 11117 NE 189th St. Suite 216, Battle Ground, Washington 98604 or you may also go to our safe and easy online donation page to make your gift now. (www.battlegroundhealthcare.org)
It is through your donation and support that we are able to continue our program which costs $12,000 a month to operate and make a difference “one person at a time”. Thank you for helping us build a healthier community. May you be blessed this Spring season as you have been a blessing to so many!
Susan K. Neal, MAOM, BSN, RN
This last week Battle Ground Rotary surprised Battle Ground Healthcare with a $2000 grant that will go to support BGHC’s new Rehabilitation Clinic. The needs of Battle Ground Healthcare’s Rehabilitation Clinic were brought to the attention of the Battle Ground Rotary through a volunteer. When Battle Ground Rotary members discovered that there were available funds for Rotary chapters to donate to local nonprofits they petitioned for funds to be awarded to Battle Ground Healthcare. Surprisingly fast, the Rotary committees approved the funding and Battle Ground Rotary was able to award the grant to BGHC in a short time.
The Battle Ground Rotary Club presented Battle Ground Healthcare with the $2000 grant on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at BGHC’s monthly Lunch and Learn. The grant will go to help purchase much-needed equipment for the Rehabilitation Clinic. Becky Hanenkrat, BG Rotary Community Service Chair and Amy Price, BG Rotary President, attended the Battle Ground Healthcare Lunch and Learn monthly program to present Sue Neal, BGHC’s Executive Director with this donation. This is a great collaboration that will benefit many members of the Battle Ground Community.
BGHC has been serving Clark County communities for over 5 years and their services are continual expanding.They started as free chronic medical and dental clinic in 2006 with the goal to improve the quality of life for people suffering from chronic health who live in the healthcare “gap”. Since 2006, BGHC has continued to expand their care from chronic medical and dental to diabetes treatment, rehabilitation programs, vision care.
The Complexities of Living in the “Coverage Gap”
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, nearly all low-income individuals with an income less than 200 percent of federal poverty level ($48,600 for a family of four or $23,760 for a single person) qualifies for health insurance, which has been a great boon for those struggling to afford healthcare. However, there are many nationally who live in a kind of “dead zone” that do not qualify, either because they make too much money for Medicaid or not enough income to be able to use the healthcare exchanges. These “coverage gaps” are complex and often rise because some states limited Medicaid coverage that would help the uninsured. Washington State expanded its Medicaid coverage which helped limit the coverage gap within Washington. However, there are still a significant percentage of the population that are uninsured.
How many are in the “coverage gap”?
Nearly two and a half million poor uninsured adults fall into the coverage gap many of whom are white non-hispanics, though that varies by state. Nationally, 46 percent of uninsured adults in the coverage gap are white. In Washington State, hispanics continue to have a high uninsured rate at about 19.2 percent. In Washington,almost 600,000 people still remain uninsured, approximately 38,000 of those within Clark County.
How does a “coverage gap” affect the uninsured?
Many of those who are without health insurance are also past middle age, making those who are struggling into their 60s and 70s with health issues more likely to not have insurance to cover their increasing health costs.
Untreated health issues often become more serious the longer they are left untreated. Those in the coverage gap tend to have higher percentages of late-term cancer diagnosis, chronic health conditions, untreated diabetes and other major health issues that have been ignored, burgeoning into critical health issues that often expand into costly emergency room visits that are unaffordable and create medical bills that go unpaid.
Many people, struggling under the burden of medical bills, find their tenuous health compromised even further as they face daily choices of what bills to pay, what medications to buy or not buy, and how to buy groceries or pay for housing.
How does the “coverage gap” affect communities?
Unpaid medical bills have to be absorbed by someone and often those bills are paid by hospitals or state and federal agencies, but they also can get passed on in rising medical costs. Since 2000, hospitals have provided more than $502 billion in uncompensated care to patients. Additionally, lost work time to sick employees cost billions to employers annually. That lost money affects communities at the most basic levels: productivity, happy communities, thriving businesses.
How do free clinics help?
Since the 1960s about 1,200 free and charitable clinics have been filling in the medical gaps for those who cannot afford health coverage. By helping people who cannot afford healthcare, free and charitable clinics help people, families, employees, employers and the larger community thrive and be productive. Free clinics can help stop the vicious cycle of uninsured people using medical resources inefficiently, such as emergency room visits for non-urgent care, which raises costs for everyone. Preventive care also helps the uninsured stop potential health issues before they reach a crisis point, which in turn helps reduce overall costs by keeping the employee at work and productive, reducing the strain on the community who would absorb the unpaid medical costs for critical care. Keeping people well and in the workforce has a significant impact on the local economy. And a healthy community attracts and retains businesses looking for employees who will enhance their company.
Why give to Battle Ground Healthcare
Battle Ground HealthCare believes in the value of health and strives to meet the health and dental needs of the uninsured and underinsured in our community so that our community can thrive! Consider partnering with us and giving a gift to your community.