Cass lends support to Lakeland Clinic

Published 1:34 pm Saturday, May 8, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS -- Cass County commissioners Thursday night lent their support to Lakeland Family Clinic's application for designations as a federally-qualified and community health center.
Executive Director Mary Geegan Middleton of Dowagiac requested a letter of support to submit with Lakeland's applications due May 14.
Lakeland Family Clinic, 109 School St., Cassopolis, is positioning itself to resubmit two applications to the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC).
A designation of Federally Qualified Health Center would advance the clinic from its current status, Rural Health Clinic, to FQHC Look-Alike (Rural) status.
A Community Health Center designation "would take us one step beyond FQHC Look-Alike status," Middleton said, "and actually provide federal funding for providing health care services to the uninsured and under-insured. It would also allow us to expand our services to further develop a diabetic patient education program with a nurse providing one-on-one counseling with patients."
Last year the clinic provided 16,500 visits to Cassopolis patients.
Of every four patients who visit the clinic, one has Medicare, one has Medicaid, one has insurance and one is under-insured (with coverage that does not cover office visits) or uninsured.
The under-insured and uninsured are the medical "under-served" who have limited or no ability to pay for health care.
Middleton said the clinic receives no federal or state funding to assist with the cost of providing care to the under-served of the community, "yet we do not turn them away. The Lakeland Regional Health System board of directors financially supports the clinic with the understanding that care will be rendered in the most appropriate setting (not an emergency department) and in a location that is convenient for those people who do not have transportation out of the village."