ELYRIA — Lorain County Health & Dentistry will add two Elyria locations to its network for medical care for the uninsured and the underinsured.
“We’re coming to your neighborhood,” said Stephanie Wiersma, its president and CEO. “I imagine it will fill a gap that exists now.”
The two Elyria facilities will have the equivalent of 21 full-time staff, including four full-time doctors and one nurse-practitioner, she said.
The center expects to receive $650,000 a year through federal New Access Point grant funds to offset some of the uncompensated care that will be provided at the new locations.
The center received word that it would receive $495,000 on a prorated basis for the remaining nine months of the current project year through February 2013, Wiersma said.
Wiersma said she is looking for a location with about 5,000 square feet that will be leased in the area around EMH Medical Center in Elyria, while a smaller site with about 1,500 square feet will be at Wilkes Villa, a Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority complex on the city’s south side, Wiersma said.
It is eyeing two possible sites near EMH, but no decision has been made on the exact location, Wiersma said.
Health & Dentistry is a private, non-profit, federally qualified health center with a mission to provide primary and preventive health care to all, including vulnerable populations.
It hopes to have its first Elyria site open by late October or early November, followed by the second site by the end of the year, Wiersma said.
Health & Dentistry offers a sliding fee scale for qualifying uninsured patients. The nominal fee for a medical visit for an uninsured patient whose total household income is at or below the federal poverty level will be $20 at the Elyria sites, the same as it is in Lorain, according to Wiersma.
The nominal fee for an uninsured dental visit under the same circumstance is $25, but at this time, dental services will only be offered in Lorain.
While the two Elyria sites will provide services to all residents of Lorain County, Health & Dentistry will specifically seek to serve low-income, uninsured, underinsured, Medicaid/Medicare populations and those living in Elyria public housing communities, Wiersma said.
Wiersma called the effort “collaboration at its best,” saying local leaders “were fully aware of the health disparities in the Elyria community and particularly among residents of public housing.”
Elyria Health Commissioner Kathy Boylan expressed enthusiasm for the project, saying that 16 percent of the city’s population is uninsured. Boylan said the new centers will “close a major service gap here.”
Its facilities in Lorain at 1800 Livingston Ave. and 3745 Grove Ave. employ about 48 people.
Lorain County Health & Dentistry became a federally qualified health center in March 2009 and is working on several building projects, Wiersma said.
The Grove Avenue facility is being expanded to provide space for another doctor, she said.
In addition, Health & Dentistry embarked on a $6.9 million renovation of the former Gel-Pac building at 1205 Broadway in Lorain.
The renovated building will have about 24,000 square feet of space and replace the facility on Lexington Avenue near the St. Joseph Community Center, she said.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.