October Q&A: Barnabas Health Services with John Bowls
Our Health Services manager, John Bowls, talks to us this month about our how we provide comprehensive primary and preventative medical care, along with dental, mental health and other health services.
What types of health services are offered at Barnabas?
Since 2005, we've been providing quality health care services to uninsured, low-income adult residents of Nassau County. We then recognized the connection between diminished physical health and poor oral hygiene, so in 2007 we began offering dental services, which is the county's only low-cost dental program of its kind. In 2014, we expanded our medical and dental services, adding primary medical care, mental health services, vision and hearing screenings, mammograms and chronic disease management. And, we just added a nutrition services program that offers individualized nutrition counseling and education to help patients better manage their chronic diseases, diabetes, weight loss efforts and more. Over the past decade, we have become a "medical home" for adults who have no other place to turn for affordable and comprehensive health services.
How many patients are helped by Barnabas Health Services each year?
We are proud to share the substantial impact of our services in our community. In the past fiscal year, July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, for medical services we helped 929 unduplicated patients with 2,309 visits, and for dental services we helped 715 unduplicated patients with 2,326 visits. These services restored health and kept patients out of the emergency room.
Who is eligible for these services and where are they provided?
We believe financial hardship shouldn't prevent people from obtaining quality healthcare. Medical and dental services are provided to adults on a sliding fee basis based on income, which must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The best way to access our services is to call and make an appointment at our Fernandina Beach office, where all of our services are based. Limited services also are offered in our new Callahan location.
Who provides the many services offered?
Our various health services are provided by caring, dedicated health professionals and volunteers who take the time to educate each patient, ensuring, for example, they know how to take their medications, eat properly, check their blood sugar, and follow other healthcare instructions. Also, our new nutrition services are being offered through a partnership with the University of North Florida dietetic interns who are providing nutrition education and counseling to our medical patients and clients of our Food Pantry.
How does Barnabas fund the Health Services programs?
We know community partnerships are vital to continuing and expanding our programs and services. That's why we are deeply grateful to the many generous donors and in-kind supporters who team up with us to provide Nassau County residents in need with quality healthcare. Most notably, Baptist Medical Center Nassau and Baptist Health have provided funding to support the expansion of our programs and the services of a medical director. The Baptist Health system provides critical support by contributing lab services, x-rays, testing, mammograms, medications and other essential services to our patients. Baptist's in-kind donation for this past fiscal year was more than $1.7 million! Our other generous partners include: Florida Blue Foundation, Florida Department of Health, Vision Is Priceless, CW Vision, Speech and Hearing Center of Jacksonville,Roddy-Holden Foundation, Delta Dental Foundation, the Women's Giving Alliance and others. Vital health services are also provided through the Nassau Cares network and include the following physicians: Scott Ackerman (First Coast Oncology), Clarence Boudreaux & Russell Metz (Beaches Dermatology), Andrew Halperin (Baptist Ob/Gyn Group), Gil Cu (Nephrology), Harvey, Phillip & Whittaker (Borland-Grover Clinic), Kevin Lin (Precision Chiropractic), George LeBert (Cardiology) and Alan Miller (Coastal Spine Center). We could not offer our Health Services programs without their continued support.
What successes have you witnessed by patients who are receiving services?
Two of our recent successes are quite remarkable and we like to share them as a testament to the critical importance of the impact of our services in Nassau County. First, a 50-year-old man with a long history of tobacco use and leg pain had been treated many times in various hospital emergency departments. But the pain continued to worsen so he sought help from the Barnabas primary care program. We determined he had significant arterial disease and he also developed chest pain. Through our partnerships, he was treated by a Baptist Health heart specialist and underwent several procedures. He is now on medication, his pains are lessening and he has quit smoking. Our second success involves a 40-year-old woman with a history of uncontrolled diabetes. A year ago, she began treatment through our primary care program and gained control of her blood sugar with medication, diet modifications and regular follow-ups. She also has a history of cervical cancer, which we are monitoring with periodic testing. She was able to be seen by a Baptist Health gynecologist for a biopsy that was paid by a patient assistance fund we secured for her. Now her health issues are being controlled and she is committed to more closely tracking her health.
How do Nassau County residents in need obtain Barnabas Health Services?
Information is available and appointments are made by calling our main Fernandina Beach office at (904) 261-7000 or (888) 885-6498 x128 (se habla Español)Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.