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Helping the uninsured make community health connections

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

HealthConnect team treated more than 800 patients last year

HealthConnect: Going the extra mile for children and families
HealthConnect, a mobile van travels to seven sites in York and Adams counties and provides care to those who are uninsured and qualify.

Wally, age 35, arrives at the HealthConnect van at the York County School of Technology with a painfully swollen, bruised index finger on his right hand.

The nail is dark and the finger is stiff. To prevent a passing child from running into his car door, Wally slammed the door shut on his finger.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” jokes Wally.

Wally has no health insurance. He works as a temp since losing his full-time job last year.

Sarah, Wally’s wife, works “almost fulltime,” but not enough to have the best support with her health insurance premium. They have foregone health insurance to meet their expenses for shelter, food and raising their 10-year-old son, Dennis.

While Wally is being examined, Sarah talks with a care coordinator about her depression. She realizes she would feel better if she took her antidepressant, but the cost is too high.

She shares her worries about Wally not being able to work if his finger is injured; she worries that she might be late to work because it could lead to dismissal from her job.

The HealthConnect staff consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, care coordinators, drivers/clerks, volunteers, administrative and maintenance staff. They provide care and help families make the health connections they need.

Wally needs an antibiotic for his finger. Wally and Sarah want to pay for the prescription because personal pride is important to them.

The staff calls the Healthy Community Pharmacy, which is able to fill the prescription for a modest affordable fee; it will be ready in an hour.

A Healthy York Network application is given to the family with instructions on where, when and how to complete and deliver it for review. Wally and Sarah understand that it is not insurance, but a discount program for support.

Wally takes the requisition to have an X-ray completed and is told that the provider will call him with results. Wally knows that he can come back to HealthConnect for follow up, if needed. The goal, however, is for Wally and Sarah to develop a relationship with a primary care provider for long-term care.

If they are approved for the Healthy York Network, WellSpan can help them reach that goal.

Kelly Osmolinski-Smith, right, treats a patient
Kelly Osmolinski-Smith, right, treats a patient on the HealthConnect van.

Before they leave the HealthConnect van, they receive information about the importance of good dental hygiene, toothbrushes and some kid-friendly reading materials about dental hygiene for Dennis. Sarah also gets a phone number for Crisis Intervention, in case her depression and negative thoughts get worse.

Staff members reinforce Wally and Sarah’s positives—their parenting skills to help their son, their commitment to each other and their willingness to be a partner with HealthConnect to make connections that will have a positive impact on their health.

They also receive a card with the date of their visit to HealthConnect, the names of staff members they met and a phone number for non-urgent questions.

Wally and Sarah are among the more than 800 patients the HealthConnect team treated from July 2012 through June 2013.

“Our job is to help the uninsured make community health connections,” said Kelly Osmolinski-Smith, manager of Community Health Connections. “Our goal is a healthier community despite the individual’s resources. Our patients are our neighbors in York and Adams counties.”

HealthConnect facts

Eligibility guidelines:

  • Have no medical insurance
  • Live in a WellSpan service area
  • Have a health problem that can be cared for at the mobile clinic
  • Have no Medical Assistance, CHIP, Medicaid, Medicare or other federal funding for health benefits
    Have a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level

Services offered:

  • Treatment for minor illnesses (sore throat, cough)
  • Flu vaccines (adults and children)
  • Treatment for minor injuries (cuts and sprains)
  • School/work physicals
  • Driver’s physicals ($10 charge)
  • Health education and promotion services
  • Referrals for primary and specialized care
  • Information for Medical Assistance/CHIP and Healthy York
  • Network applications

Site locations

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
216 Main St.
York Springs
First Monday of the month

Biglerville High School (in the parking lot by the stadium)
161 N. Main St.
1-7 p.m., every Monday except the first Monday

Adams County Rescue Mission
2515 York Rd.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., third Wednesday of each month

South York Value Center
2130 S. Queen St.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., second Tuesday of each month (physicals only, $10 charge)

York’s Helping Hand
412 W. King St.
5-8 p.m., first and third Tuesdays of the month

York County School of Technology
2179 S. Queen St.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., every Thursday

York Rescue Mission
373 W. Market St.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., fourth Wednesday of the month

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