Obscured by the monumental news that Good Samaritan Hospital will be closed by the end of the year is that a health center on the campus expects to remain operating for years to come.
“We’re not a hospital, but we’re hoping the services we can offer will meet the needs of the community,” Five Rivers Health Centers CEO Gina McFarlane-El said.
The community health center, across the street from the hospital at 2261 Philadelphia Drive, serves patients regardless of their ability to pay. The nonprofit was recognized recently for its work in providing preventative care and managing chronic conditions, which can help avoid unnecessary ER visits.
Premier Health announced in January it would be closing Good Sam by the end of the year, moving staff and services to other locations in the network. The announcement sparked concern throughout the region about whether the move would disproportionately affect the health of residents served by the hospital, a longtime mainstay in northwest Dayton.
McFarlane-El said the Five Rivers Health Centers board will be discussing what it can do to meet the community’s needs in the wake of the hospital’s closing. Five Rivers is a separately operated nonprofit but has a connection with Premier Health and leases its newly constructed building from the health network.
“This ZIP Code is one of the most populous ZIP Codes in the area. There are a lot of people in this area. So we want to ask what can we do to tap into the needs of the community and figure out what can work,” McFarlane-El said.
The health center’s network of Dayton-area locations, including the center at Philadelphia Drive, served more than 25,000 patients in 2017 and logged 84,307 patient visits. It is set up to serve the uninsured and under-served, as well as proactively respond to some of the community’s most pressing health concerns.
Areas of focus include helping patients who are uninsured sign up for Medicaid if eligible, working to reduce racial health disparities, reducing the high infant mortality rate, and addressing widespread health problems like hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
Five Rivers has primary care services like dental, OB-GYN, behavioral health, sickle cell care, respite care, a medical and legal partnership, psychiatry and pharmacy. It also has specialty care like gastroenterology, neurology, orthopedic and hand surgery, general surgery and infections disease treatment.
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About 70 percent of the health center’s patient revenue comes from Medicaid, 11 percent from self-paying or uninsured patients, 10 percent from Medicare and 9 percent from commercial insurance. The high Medicaid percentage compares to about 26 percent for the Dayton region as a whole.
McFarlane-El said the health centers also teach doctors through the nonprofit’s large residency program, which trains recent medical school graduates.
The residency program benefits everyone, McFarlane-El said.
“It gives the community residents an important role because they get to help with the training of the next generation of doctors,” she said.