WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—People go to the emergency room for many reasons. It’s a costly experience for individuals but even more costly for county taxpayers when those patients using the emergency room are uninsured. Many ER visits are wasteful and could be prevented if patients had access to preventative and primary care services.

To that end, the Community Health Center of West Palm Beach has been awarded a $200,000 operating grant from Quantum Foundation to provide health care services to uninsured and under-insured residents of Palm Beach County over the next two years.

Individuals who lack access to timely healthcare, due to cost, proximity, limited hours of availability or other reasons, often use emergency rooms for their none emergency care. But the Community Health Center of West Palm Beach (CHC) offers a smart alternative. The center offers uninsured patients access to regular doctor or nurse practioner care at a “medical home” where they are diagnosed, treated and educated in how to manage their conditions which, if left untreated, end up costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Located on 45th St. near Congress Ave., the CHC works to reduce wasteful healthcare spending by encouraging those who are uninsured or under-insured to take control of their health by regularly visiting their health provider and better managing their conditions.

The $200,000 grant will allow the center to see more patients and expand their services. “The Community Health Center really is a safety net for our community,” said Quantum Foundation President, Eric M. Kelly. “Our purpose is to fund projects that improve the health of the county. Providing a medical home and quality care for those who need it is the cornerstone of our mission.”

The CHC’s services include:

• The Medical Clinic, which provides free, non-emergency primary healthcare services to those who qualify, including regular checkups, job/school related physicals, acute illness and injury care, rapid HIV screening, prescription services and imaging/specialist referrals.

• The Chronic Disease Management Clinic, which provides in-depth education and care for individuals coping with hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

• The Vision Clinic, which provides a full range of optometry services including routine eye exams, eye disease checks, medication/prescription services and eyeglass prescriptions.

• Mental Health Services, offered in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach to provide mental health screenings and assistance finding follow-up mental health services in the local area.

The CHC impacts the lives of real people every day. “Without the Community Health Center of West Palm Beach I would not be able to manage my diabetes, nor would I be able to afford my medication,” said Mr. S.R.S., a regular patient at the center. “They are a godsend to me.” Another patient, Mrs. JT said: “I visit CHC once a month to control my diabetes and high blood pressure. Not only has my health improved, I have peace of mind knowing my needs will be cared for. CHC has been a blessing.”

To learn more about the Community Health Center of West Palm Beach visit www.freehealthcarewpb.org