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UVMC Adds to Support of Health Partners

 

Health Partners - Miami County
Dr. Peter Nims and Deb Miller outside the Health Partners Free Clinic between Troy and Piqua in Miami County.

As often is the case with neighbors, Health Partners Free Clinic and Upper Valley Medical Center are forging a stronger relationship.

The two organizations, located a couple of miles apart along County Road 25A between Troy and Piqua, have been encouraging an enhanced relationship with the common goal of meeting Miami County residents’ health care needs.

UVMC recently contributed $50,000 to Health Partners’ efforts, in addition to $20,000 donated over the two previous years.  The hospital also and has encouraged its health care professionals to volunteer for the health clinic.

“Our organizations share a mission to provide access to needed health care services in our communities,” said Tom Parker, UVMC president and CEO. “The assistance Health Partners offers makes a real difference in people’s lives and is an important complement to our health care system. We very much value our collaborative relationship with them, especially in this era of health care reform and growing challenges.” 

UVMC’s support has been and will continue to be of great importance to Health Partners, said Dr. B. Mark Hess, president of the Health Partners Free Clinic Board.

“The economic pressures of recent years have both increased the community’s need for our health care services, and at the same time reduced some of the available funds to support our work,” Dr. Hess said. “UVMC’s financial support is timely and greatly appreciated.  We look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of the entire community.”

The latest donation from UVMC will go primarily toward operations, said Deb Miller, Executive Director of Health Partners. “The timing of the donation was so critical for us,” she commented. “It was huge.”

Miller said the year 2011 was another busy one for the Health Partners Free Clinic, which was organized in 1998 and served 400 clients in 1999. It moved to its new home – the Paul G. Duke Health Center – in 2008.  Last year, the clinic worked with 1,200 individuals and provided more than 18,000 medications to county residents.  The clinic now offers about 38 hours a week of scheduled patient times, including nursing visits.

“We do a lot of nursing education and follow up, especially for those who come in as walk-ins,” said Miller.  She explained that patients are given needed medications at the initial visit and asked to come back to see a nurse who will work with them on their ongoing health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes. 

While the number one diagnosis at Health Partners a couple of years ago was depression, hypertension and diabetes have returned to the top of the most commonly seen diagnosis list.

Dr. Peter Nims of Troy has volunteered at Health Partners since retiring from his psychiatric practice in 2008. He is a member of both the Health Partners and the UVMC boards of directors. “I find working with the patients and staff very rewarding,” he said.

“UVMC assists Health Partners financially and by encouraging physician volunteers and Health Partners provides medical care for hundreds of patients that otherwise might end up in the ER or in private physician offices,” Dr. Nims added. “The goal of both organizations is to provide quality medical care to Miami County residents, and working together helps us both to achieve that goal.”

Although it was a busy year, Health Partners did not grow significantly in 2011. That was intentional, to give the organization time to catch its breath and get its infrastructure more organized, Miller said.

“The focus on work flow, job descriptions, processes and other day-to-day basics has helped improve efficiency greatly,” she noted. “It will be a lot easier to volunteer here now because we have those things in place. We still have a few things to tweak yet, and more volunteers are always needed.”

In addition to nurses and doctors, the clinic needs volunteers to help with tasks such as medical records and registration. The clinic also benefits from the services of students in medical fields and possibly will add pharmacy students to the mix soon, Miller said.

Potential volunteers are invited to contact Debbie Danielson at (937) 332-0894, ext. 210.

In addition to volunteers, the clinic always can use financial contributions. More information on Health Partners is available by calling (937) 332-0894. More information on UVMC is available at www.UVMC.com.

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