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The Free Clinics (TFC) is an innovative, dynamic, volunteer-based community organization that ensures access to healthcare for low-income, uninsured residents of Henderson and Polk Counties. We work collaboratively with the local community health centers, health departments, social service agencies, and hospitals to augment and enhance the healthcare system and provide vital services that are not duplicated. TFC is a community of over 220 dedicated volunteers and 179 health and community partners, working together to make our counties healthier places to live, work, learn, and play. Through TFC, our community unites in helping our most vulnerable neighbors address their health concerns–with everything from access to a doctor’s visit, to medications, to lack of healthy food or transportation challenges–changing lives together, with hope and health.
In 2018-19, TFC provided a total of 40,399 client encounters for 2,093 unduplicated patients.
Henderson County Detention Center Clinical Services
Psychiatric Care Navigation
Chronic & Specialty Care
Bridges to Health
Bridges to Health – Diabetes
Community Case Management
Bikes 4 Life
Flu Shot Clinics
Information & Referral Services
Patient Health Advocacy – Community
Patient Health Advocacy – Detention
Medi-Find Prescription Assistance
Medication Therapy Management
Return on Investment
The value of professional services given was over $9.7M with an annual budget of approximately $1.2M. Our return on investment is $1 = $7.65.
10 Years of Bridges to Health
Bridges to Health began as an experiment to work with the most vulnerable, highest need patients, providing a “one-stop-shop” group medical visit in hopes of reducing unnecessary emergency department visits. Since July 2010, TFC and our partners have demonstrated more than $6M savings to the local hospital and a 52% reduction in inappropriate hospital utilization; medical improvements so that 61% of patients have improvements in their depression score, 63% of patients with hypertension have a healthy blood pressure, and 81% of patients with diabetes have a healthy A1c; and social improvements among patients so that 42% of patients became employed, 64% experience an improvement in their ability to make decisions and function well in day-to-day life, and 94% are housed rather than homeless.
In 2016, Bridges was a top three finalist for the Kate B. Reynolds Innovations in Rural Health Award. In 2017, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognized Dr. Steven Crane as the Health Equity Leader of the Year for his vision and leadership with the Bridges program. In 2018, Dr. Crane presented the Bridges model at the American Public Health Association meeting in San Diego and TFC was featured on the Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Blog. Last year, in 2019, Dr. Crane was invited to present the Bridges model to the National Governors Association Center for Excellence in Health.
In 2019, TFC continued to grow and develop new and unique partnerships to better serve our vulnerable neighbors, continuing to make Henderson and Polk Counties healthier places to be.
TFC in the Jail
After expanding our award-winning Bridges to Health program to the Henderson County Detention Center (HCDC) last year, early results show that 53% of those patients have nested with care at TFC upon their release. TFC has also added a Patient Health Advocate position based at the jail, who will provide recently released persons with support and direct connections to medical, behavioral health, and social services. TFC has also assumed the contract for the HCDC licensed behavioral health clinician, who conducts clinical mental health and substance abuse assessments and provides case management and therapy services to inmates.
Post-Overdose Response Team
In collaboration with the Henderson County Department of Public Health, TFC is creating an innovative new post-overdose response team to engage in outreach and recovery support to community members who have recently experienced an overdose and/or been resuscitated by Naloxone, in an effort to prevent repeated overdose.
If you are interested in becoming a patient at TFC, learning more, making a donation or volunteering, please call 828.697.8422 or visit our website at www.thefreeclinics.org.
The Free Clinics now providing revamped diabetes program
This year, The Free Clinics (TFC) launches a new, group visit version of its diabetes program, thanks to funding from Pisgah Health Foundation.
TFC’s long-standing diabetes program is being transformed into a comprehensive drop-in group visit model, based on its award-winning Bridges to Health program, to serve Henderson and Polk Counties’ most vulnerable persons with diabetes. The model allows TFC to serve as the patient’s primary care provider, with multiple health specialists present at each diabetes group visit, including a medical provider, behavioral health specialist, nurse, occupational therapist, health educator, patient health advocate, and clinical pharmacist.
The new program will debut on February 13, 2020. TFC is actively seeking new, uninsured patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes or prediabetes to join the group, which will meet weekly on Thursday afternoons.
Hannah Parks, TFC’s Diabetes Nurse Case Manager, says, “I think the program meets a real need that the community has to integrate diabetes care with a really knowledgeable team. The extra piece that we offer is the compassion, and the benefit of the group visit model and that peer support.”
She adds, “I have hope about how the group dynamic will work with managing a chronic illness that is often very isolating. With diabetes you’re potentially checking your blood sugar at every meal, it messes up everything that you enjoy about food and interferes with your family and life, so I’m curious to see how being in a group setting works—what impact it has when patients can see, You’re not alone, you have support.”
For more information about the Diabetes program at The Free Clinics please contact Diabetes Case Manager Hannah Parks, RN at 828.697.8422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.