OHSU Richmond Health Center Accepted Into Coalition to Better Help Uninsured Patients

10/27/04    Portland, Ore.

The Oregon Health & Science University Family Health Center at Richmond has been invited to join the Coalition of Community Health Clinics by a unanimous decision. The coalition is a 20-year-old network of 13 health clinics dedicated to providing primary and acute health services to the uninsured and underserved in the Portland metropolitan area.

"As the need for Health Care Safety Net services grow, the work of the coalition will be even more important. OHSU Richmond clinic is proud to become a member of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics," said Ann O'Connell, R.N., M.S.N., executive director of the Richmond center.

Richmond became eligible to join the coalition after it was named a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike, allowing it to provide comprehensive primary care to vulnerable patients in their designated southeast Portland area, regardless of patients' ability to pay. The coalition is made up of the FQHCs and the community clinics in Multnomah County.

"One of the advantages of OHSU being in the coalition is that we will see a smooth coordination between our primary care clinics and the hospital. This can be a business model for other hospitals to use," said John Duke, chairman of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics and director of clinic and health services at Outside In, a social service agency that serves low-income adults and homeless youth in Portland.

"With OHSU, it means we are getting a new and strong partner in the care of the underserved. It also marks a wave of change in our community that Richmond is stepping up to meet the need," he said.

Richmond is the largest clinic in the coalition with about 30,000 patient office visits each year; about 10 percent of those patients have no health insurance.

The coalition's membership is diverse, as are the services and specialties they provide. Coalition members work together in a mutually supportive and noncompetitive manner. They assist one another with special patient needs, write letters of support for one another, and coordinate care for patients and the community. The coalition is widely recognized for its political advocacy for Portland's uninsured and underserved patient populations. The mission of the coalition is to support member clinics in their efforts to provide low-cost or no cost health care to low-income people who are uninsured or underinsured.

Coalition members include: Native American Rehabilitation Association Indian Health Services; National College of Naturopathic Medicine; North Portland Nurse Practitioner Community Health Clinic; Old Town Clinic; Outside In; Portland Adventist Community Services Family Health Center; The Wallace Medical Concern; West Burnside Chiropractic Clinic; Portland Alternative Health Center - Program of Central City Concern; Rosewood Family Health Center; New Life Slavic Services Center; Southwest Community Health Center; and now the OHSU Family Health Center - Richmond.