Wednesday, February 4, 2009

OU’s Community Health Programs Keep an Eye on State Budget Cuts

By JJ Andersen

In these tough economic times the Childhood Immunization Program (CHIP) is providing families in Athens and surrounding areas with a free or low cost health service for their kids. The program allows children with or without medical insurance to receive the vaccinations they need. Nurse Coordinator, Lynn Smith, has been with the Community Health Programs since the beginning.

Nurse Lynn Smith discusses CHIP

The Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM)
The OU-COM supported the Community Health Programs (CHP) by providing $1 million in free and low cost health services in 2008. Recent budget cuts to state agencies have caused the OU-COM to shorten its leash on funding. Funds will be limited for some time, but like Smith the OU-COM Dean, Jack Borse, said no programs will be cut, “Unless we’re really hit hard by budget cuts.”

Nurse Lynn Smith discusses concerns with the state budget

Community Health Programs
The CHP , formerly the Community Service Programs, began in 1996 with the Childhood Immunization Program. Other programs offered by OU-COM are:

*Physical Clinics
*Free Diabetic Clinic
*Well Child Program
*Tuberculosis Prevention Program
*Healthy Adult Program

For example, when parents choose to use the Immunization Program they’re freeing themselves of potential insurance costs and fees. Smith knows the importance of this. “Many people are not aware of the actual costs of the vaccines. It’s a situation in many times they go to the doctor’s the vaccination gets billed to the insurance, many times they don’t have any real concept of how much money it really costs to get these vaccines administered,” she says.

Going Mobile
The Community Health Program started out as primarily a community outreach program using a mobile van to run its clinics. Now most of the services are offered out of Parks Hall at Ohio University because increased transportation costs led to the slow decline in local mobile clinics. But that hasn’t stopped people from counting on them.

“A couple came in today from Logan, and that’s Hocking county. So they are coming in. We have people coming in from Perry County and Logan County; they all drive to this stationary clinic, because they know we’re here,” Smith said.

CHP nurses and faculty keep families informed

Immunization Clinic

*When- Mondays 1:00-5:30pm, Thursdays 8:00am-Noon

*Where- The ground floor in Parks Hall at Ohio University- MAP

*Who- Children to age 18

No comments: