Moore Free Care Clinic Receives $71,000 in Grants
The clinic received two grants totaling $31,000 from the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics (NCAFC) and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.
The North Carolina Association of Free Clinics awarded Moore Free Care Clinic a needs-based grant of $16,000 that will be used to expand services to its growing patient population by adding a registered nurse to coordinate nursing volunteers and to provide continuity of care for chronic disease program patients.
The clinic received a $15,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation, which is part of a five-year commitment by the foundation to help care for the uninsured people of North Carolina through its partnership with the NCAFC.
The clinic also received a $40,000 grant from the Moore County Community Foundation, which will allow the clinic to hire a nurse to assist with case management for its Chronic Disease Management Clinic.
"Most of the clinic's patients have significant chronic disease -- typically diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, cholesterol, obesity and smoking addictions," says Laura Tremper-Jones, the clinic's executive director. "This grant allows us to add critical staff to help us focus on patients with chronic disease through the careful monitoring and adjustment of medications and patient education, which are central elements of chronic disease management and health promotion."
Moore Free Care Clinic is one of 61 North Carolina free health clinics eligible to receive a general grant and one of 39 receiving funding for specific clinic service needs.
All NCAFC member clinics can reapply for this funding in each of the remaining two years of the partnership. Distribution of the grant monies is handled by the NCAFC, a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that conducts advocacy, research, public relations, resource development, training and technical assistance on behalf of its member free clinics and the people they serve.
"The partnership with the BCBSNC Foundation has not only helped to grow the number of free clinics in our state, but has also aided us in expanding our services to help meet the ever-increasing needs of the uninsured in North Carolina," said Mike Darrow, executive director of NCAFC. "These grant funds from BCBSNC Foundation help our clinics keep their doors open, help them to reach beyond their current capacity and assist them in breaking down the barriers preventing the uninsured from accessing quality health care.
"As our clinics adapt to the evolving demands of the uninsured, gaining a broader spectrum of community support will be essential to help sustain the efforts of clinics like Moore Free Care Clinic."
Goal of Free Access
Kathy Higgins, president of the BCBSNC Foundation, said, "North Carolina's free clinics continue to show great compassion, skill and resourcefulness in providing essential medical care to those who have nowhere else to turn. These grants move us one step closer to our goal of providing free clinic access across North Carolina.
"Because of this partnership, this clinic is able to work to help their neighbors who are in need of medical attention."
Estimates put North Carolina's uninsured at more than 1.3 million, with no discernible, realistic solution on the horizon and increasing health care costs further exacerbating the problem. That number is equal to the combined populations of North Carolina's 53 most rural counties.
In 2004, North Carolina's free health clinics and pharmacies provided $56 million of free health care to 81,000 uninsured patients with more than 331,000 patient encounters.
North Carolina has more free medical clinics than any state in the country. Free clinics are private, nonprofit, community-based organizations, which provide health care to those in need through the use of professional volunteers, such as physicians, dentists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and hundreds of other health-care professionals and community volunteers.
'Gift to Uninsured'
The clinic's award from the North Carolina Community Foundation was among several made from the John W. and Marjorie A. Roffe Endowment and marks the first-ever distribution of funds to local health-related causes from the Roffe Endowment, a fund held and advised through the Moore County Community Foundation.
"We are so grateful to the Roffe Endowment for their generous gift to the uninsured of Moore County," said Dr. H. David Bruton, chairman, and one of the founders of the Moore Free Care Clinic. "Before becoming patients of the clinic, many of the uninsured were forced by circumstances to seek crisis intervention care.
"Often they were unable to obtain the prescribed medications they needed to prevent rapid progression of their chronic diseases.
"This gift from the Moore County Community Foundation will enable us to hire a nurse who will monitor, manage and educate these patients so they will have better health outcomes."
According to Tremper-Jones, the nurse -- in addition to a mid-level provider, plus the volunteer physicians, nurses, and physical therapists -- allows the clinic staff to spend more time with patients.
"This ensures that the patients understand their medication regimens and we're able to discuss health promotion behaviors and conduct classes for patient groups," Tremper-Jones said. "The patients get intensive health care management, which is critical since many of them have been without health care for such long periods of time."
The Roffe Endowment was established through a bequest from the late John and Marjorie Roffe, former Moore County residents.
"We are so gratified to be the stewards of this magnificent and meaningful legacy from the Roffes," noted Randall Phillips, board president of the Moore County Community Foundation. "Their generous gift will continue to benefit our community for many, many years to come."
The Moore County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation (NCCF). Local board members include Phillips; Donnell G. Adams Jr., secretary/treasurer, Cos Barnes, Betsy Best, Sherwood Blackwood, Pidgie Chapman, Michael Henry, Hugh Hinton, Jr., Stephen Later, Louise Lucas, Kelly McCrann, William Samuels, William Saunders and Peggy Sarvis.
The Foundation operates to help individuals and organizations establish charitable endowments for the causes of their choice.
All funds established through the Foundation qualify for maximum favorable tax advantages. As with the Roffe Endowment, funds may be established through planned gifts or by will and bequest.
Moore Free Care Clinic provides high-quality primary, preventive and specialty health care to limited-income people in Moore County.
The clinic opened on April 29, 2004, and has registered nearly 1,200 patients. Fifty percent of the clinic's patients are employed but do not have access to employer-offered health care benefits, public assistance programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare, or they cannot afford health care insurance due to their low wages.
Moore Free Care Clinic is a nonprofit corporation. It does not receive any federal or state funds and is dependent upon donations from the community.
Anyone seeking more information on the clinic can call 947-6550 or visit the Web site at www.moorefreecare.org.
Claudia Watson is a founding member of the Moore Free Care Clinic Board of Directors.
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