PINEHURST – FirstHealth of the Carolinas offers Community Benefit programs and services provided voluntarily by the health care organization to improve the overall quality of life in the communities they serve.
This includes unpaid costs of patient care, free or low-cost screenings, charitable contributions, family support services, health education and community-building activities.
“We are honored to be a community health leader, but it takes much more than day-to-day care that we provide to all our patients,” says John F. Krahnert Jr., M.D., chief medical officer for FirstHealth of the Carolinas. “We are committed to providing services to help those who need it most by addressing the unique health needs of our community and to ensure that we are moving toward improved health and access to care.”
FirstHealth’s Community Benefit Program is the organization’s way of giving back to the communities it serves and living up to its core purpose, “to care for people.” For many years, FirstHealth has tried to go beyond providing charity care to define its Community Benefit program by way of a variety of programs and initiatives. Through a process of assessment, collaborations and empowerment, FirstHealth identifies unmet needs in the community, develops interventions and find the resources needed to address those needs.
Community Benefit programs include:
- Transition Care Clinics, which are specialized treatment clinics where patients get individualized medical care that may include as-needed IV diuretic therapy, health education and coaching, nutrition counseling, medication review and reconciliation, and assistance with financial issues. Patients seen in these clinics are often those suffering the most with chronic disease in our communities. More than 1,000 patients were seen by a health coach or behavioral health coach through the Transition Care Clinics last year, and 50 percent of them reported an improved quality of life, greatly exceeding the initial goal of 35 percent.
- A Dental Care program that provides care for children from birth to 21 years who receive Medicaid or Health Choice, or who are uninsured and qualify by income level. The centers, located in Moore, Montgomery and Hoke counties, had more than 11,500 visits in 2015.
- Tobacco Cessation through FirstQuit, a program that uses the latest techniques to assist tobacco users through the process of quitting smoking, chewing and other forms of tobacco use. In 2015, FirstQuit tobacco treatment specialists met with more than 900 patients in the hospital system to start the conversation to quit tobacco. More than 300 residents in FirstHealth communities enrolled in the outpatient FirstQuit program with participants reporting high satisfaction rates and also high rates of success.
- FirstHealth Cares, a medication assistance program for Moore, Montgomery and Richmond counties, which helps uninsured/underinsured patients obtain medications from pharmaceutical companies for chronic diseases including asthma, chronic bronchitis, congestive heart failure, COPD, diabetes, emphysema, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. During 2015, nearly 1,200 patients, on average, were assisted per quarter with obtaining prescription medications valued at nearly $8.2 million for the year.
FirstHealth’s Community Benefit opportunities are not limited to just those listed above, but also include a Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center, healthy living programs, a clinical research program, transportation assistance, free screening mammograms for the uninsured, school-based health centers and Safe Kids Mid-Carolinas.
“FirstHealth is able to reach out into the region to improve the health of our community with a special emphasis on the underserved – households living at below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit,” says Chris Miller, administrative director of FirstHealth Community Health Services. “By using Community Benefit as one of the measures of organizational success, FirstHealth holds itself and its employees accountable for making the region a better place to live.”
Community benefit programs are designed to provide increased access to care and address population health inequalities for vulnerable patients. To be considered a community benefit, a program or service must respond to an identified community need and meet at least one of these criteria: improves access, enhances health, advances medical or health knowledge, or relieves or reduces the burden of government. By providing preventive health services and programs, FirstHealth of the Carolinas is helping to reduce the need for more costly emergency treatment and acute care while also improving the health and well-being of entire region.
FirstHealth of the Carolinas is a private, non-governmental, not-for-profit health care network serving 15 counties in the mid-Carolinas. The organization is licensed for 534 beds in four hospitals — Moore Regional Hospital in Moore County, Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus in Hoke County, Montgomery Memorial Hospital in Montgomery County and Richmond Memorial Hospital in Richmond County. All hospitals hold major accreditations. To learn more about FirstHealth, please visit www.firsthealth.org.