Rural health care has it challenges: provider shortages, transportation, access to specialty services and a high concentration of uninsured residents all make for an uphill battle when it comes to health care delivery. However, in Carrollton, there is good news. Last December, Carroll County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) partnered with Lexington, Mo.-based Health Care Collaborative (HCC) of Rural Missouri to co-locate a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) called the Live Well Community Health Center – Carrollton (1413 N. Jefferson). Services include primary care as well as pediatrics, well-woman care and Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals.
As a result of this partnership, dental services will follow this summer at two area dental offices: McCoy and Samples (1411 N. Jefferson Street, Suite A) and John Poston, Jr., DDS, LLC (111 S. Main Street). “The Carroll County area has an increased need for accessible primary care and dental services for its uninsured and financially compromised population,” said Live Well’s Clinical Manager Paula Kopp, RN.
Kopp also points out that fewer dentists are accepting Medicaid, but with the presence of the Live Well Community Health Center in the Carrollton community, they hope to bridge this gap. “As we have learned, dental health is the gauge to a person’s overall health status and with proper dental care, one can avoid complications in health care later in life. That is why we make dental care for the children of our communities a priority.”
HCC and its Live Well Clinic partnership with CCMH is a collaborative one that utilizes existing providers who are connected to the Carrollton community and see patients on both the hospital and clinic side. Plans are under way to expand this partnership with the addition of community support programs that help reduce prescription drug costs and increase the number of insured health care consumers.
The 340B program is open to any person who is a patient at CCMH and the Live Well Community Health Center. The federal program requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient prescription medications to eligible health care organizations. The benefit is significant cost savings for patients. In one instance a patient was paying approximately $270 a month for insulin. As a result of Live Well’s 340B Program, the same patient was able to get a three-month supply for $40. In another instance, a patient was paying over $100 for Cymbalta each month; with the help of 340B, this patient now pays $53 for a three-month supply. The Live Well Clinic has formed a partnership with Hometown Pharmacy to offer the 340B program.
Another community support program that Carrollton residents can look forward to is help with navigating the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace. This is designed to help more people who qualify gain health care insurance. HCC’s marketplace coordinator will also help people determine eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare.
HCC’s Executive Director Toniann Richard says that although this type of partnership is new – where an outside agency collaborates with a critical access hospital to open a community health center – the journey has been positive. “There is a fluidity in this Carrollton partnership with providers, labs, nurses, etc., and soon dental services,” she said. “When rural community stakeholders partner, we are better positioned to tackle rural health care challenges and improve health care delivery. That is what CCMH has set out to do and we are right there with them. These collaborative efforts are intended to improve the health care status of those living in the Carroll County community.”
To learn more, contact the HCC at 1.877.344.3572. To schedule an appointment, call the Live Well Community Health Center – Carrollton at 660.329.9005.