Hamilton Health Center
Keira McGuire | 07.22.13
Under the Affordable Care Act, most people will be required to have health insurance beginning in 2014.
Since the Hamilton Health Center opened in 1969, much of the center’s patient base has consisted of people who’ll be most affected by the mandate: the uninsured.
Jeannine Peterson, the center’s CEO, says, “We don’t turn people away. We take most insurances. And, if you’re uninsured we do that on a sliding fee.”
The Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center. It provides primary medical, dental and behavioral health care for all ages. Peterson explains:
“It is what we call a medical mall- everything under one roof.”
For that reason, Peterson believes they’ll see an increase in patients once the insurance mandate goes into effect and more people are taking advantage of health insurance.
Take a look:
In preparation, the center has moved into this new, 50-thousand square-foot building equipped with 38 medical exam rooms and 12 dental exam rooms.
The center has also hired a number of new physicians. “We’re well-positioned to bring on new physicians. The federal government covers our malpractice insurance and they’re eligible for loan re-payment if they work here. So, we’re an attraction for new physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners coming into the marketplace,” she says.
The center will be helping community members navigate the individual insurance mandate.
As the center continues to gear up for the individual insurance mandate, Peterson says they’ll be helping community members prepare as well. “I think the majority of people don’t know what to expect from the ACA. ‘What is this new insurance marketplace, how do I access it, what am I going to see when I go on?’ Fortunately, we have received a grant and will have outreach and enrollment specialists here, hold education forums on how to access and how to enroll in the available insurances.”
The center will begin their education outreach in August and they’ll be helping community members with insurance enrollment in September and October.
It will be a lot of work, but Peterson says it’ll be worth it for the community. “I think that when people don’t have insurance, we wait until really sick. We really want to focus on prevention, controlling chronic disease.”
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act: