October 31, 2014

Elyria
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42°F
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Struggling clinic gets Nord grant

LORAIN — The Nord Family Foundation has pledged $100,000 for Lorain County Health & Dentistry, which is struggling to cover $600,000 in annual costs for the uninsured.
However, the health and dentistry center will first have to come up with $200,000 from the community to get the $100,000 from Nord.
The foundation’s pledge for the clinic, which largely serves low- and moderate-income people, is part of nearly $1.7 million in 2008 grants approved by the board.
Stephanie Wiersma, executive director of the Health & Dentistry, said she was “thrilled” and pledged an all-out effort to meet the match. The foundation provided $16,000 of funding for this year.
Wiersma was working on a grant application due today at the Community Foundation, which provided $20,000 in funds this year. She also will be seeking funding from the Stocker Foundation, which provided $30,000.
The center’s annual budget is $3.8 million. In 2006, the center provided just over $600,000 in uncompensated, uninsured care.
The foundation wants to gather together community leaders to seek solutions to the growing number of uninsured, Executive Director John Mullaney said.
Wiersma said she welcomes the input. She said the center is struggling to find out how to replace money previously provided by Community Health Partners, which cut its support last fall.
Lorain County Health & Dentistry was formed in 2002 and received help from the hospital after CHP’s Family Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital was closed.
In January, CHP agreed to provide the health and dentistry center with $125,000 annually if it could find three other groups to match that amount each year. The company also forgave a $500,000 debt and reduced the clinic’s rent from $19,000 a month to $1 a month for six months, or until June 1.
Jennifer Kennedy, spokeswoman for CHP, said she did not know the extent of future funding.
Wiersma said it’s in CHP’s interest for the clinic to continue serving the uninsured, saying patients would “flood the ERs” if their needs are not met.
Contact Cindy Leise 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.

Lorain County Health & Dentistry
* $3.8 million yearly budget
* Provides $603,000 in care to the uninsured; the clinic requires at least a $15 minimum fee per visit
* 56 percent of health clinic patients are on Medicaid
* 23 percent are uninsured
* 11 percent have private insurance
* 10 percent are on Medicare (for the elderly)
* 10,000 health clinic patients a year
* 3,200 dental patients a year
* 41 percent are uninsured in the dental clinic
* Most patients are from Lorain; 11 percent are from Elyria and the client base stretches to Sandusky 
Source: Stephanie Wiersma, executive director