Tracker Pixel for Entry

Community health care gets a fresh new face

Wellness | March 28th, 2013

Cover by Raul Gomez

Absolutely everyone in the Cass and Clay County (and beyond) now has access to affordable primary health care. Whether you are insured, uninsured, broke, unemployed or immensely ill, Family HealthCare Center’s new and enlarged location at 301 NP Avenue can more than likely help.

“What sets it apart is that it’s more accessible than any other clinic in town,” said Samantha Kundinger, the center’s director of development. “We remove the financial barriers for patients by having a sliding fee scale for patients who don’t have insurance or who can’t cover whatever that deductible is based on their income and family size.”

The private, non-profit clinic, which opened last October, more than doubled in size compared to its previous location. Before, patients were turned away, had long waiting periods and spent less time with doctors and nurses. Its space was too small and inadequate to accommodate the demand.

In 2006, the clinic served roughly 6,600 patients. In 2012, it served nearly 12,000. Now, with triple the amount of exam rooms and more staff on hand, it’s more than ready to serve an expected 40,000 patients in 2013.

“We can now work more intensely with our patients without having to say, “Oh, we need to rotate through the rooms – we need to get our patients out so we can get more patients in,” Kundinger said.

Primary health care is not the clinic’s only strengthened service. Lifestyle medicine, behavioral health care, dental care, eye care, a full-service pharmacy and more are all either new or improved services offered by the clinic.

The dental clinic, for example, went from a small basement to a big second-story space with gorgeous window light, from two operatories to seven, and from old to all new equipment.

“It’s a good place for people to work,” said Patricia Patrón, Family HealthCare’s chief executive officer. “For us, it’s very important to recruit good, competent people and so this is a space that people very comfortable in. It’s a good place to serve our patients too.”

There are four community health centers in North Dakota (the fewest of any state) and Family HealthCare Center is the only one open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are in a community where unemployment is not a problem – underemployment is a problem,” Patrón said “So you have tons of people who are working two to three jobs and no benefits.”

She says it’s different in bigger cities, where many such clinics offer services mostly to those completely unemployed.

“We are serving a majority of patients that are living under poverty, but they are also productive," Patrón said. “And they want to be productive.”

Even the homeless are welcome. Whether they have an appointment or not, they can come to the clinic and lounge, watch TV and have cup of coffee in their own separate part of the clinic. Kundinger said this is part of how the clinic builds trust with its patients.

“We are building that relationship … and really working with them on more than just their health care,” Kundinger said.

Patrón said nearly half of the clinic’s homeless clients contribute something. “Sometimes they don’t have $3, but they have 50 cents or they have a dollar. And we want them to get used to that because there is no free health care in the U.S.”

In order to best serve its patients, all community health care centers must rely on community partnerships. A few of Family HealthCare’s partners include Sanford, North Dakota State University, YMCA and Lutheran Social Services.

One of the F-M area's most accommodating services for New Americans is through the clinic’s partnership with Lutheran Social Services. Besides providing access to affordable healthcare and professional translators, the clinic and Lutheran Social Services work together to help New Americans adapt to their new home with as much ease as possible by offering training on transportation, nutrition, hygiene and more.

“We want to give them everything we can to make sure they can settle successfully,” Kundinger said.

After raising $14 million through various grants and donations, the clinic is still hoping to raise another million through community donations.

“Financially, over the last five years, we have spent a lot of time fine-tuning our business model … It’s very important for non-profit organizations to be self-sustainable,” Patrón said. “For our capital campaign, we really want to raise that million so we have peace of mind and we won’t have to struggle to pay a long-term mortgage.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Family HealthCare Center

WHERE: 301 NP Ave, Fargo

WHEN: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

INFO: To schedule an appointment, call 701.271.3344

Recently in:

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comThat old adage no longer applies: There is now such a thing as a free lunch, and it is here to stay. With help from a willing community, the founders of Lunch Aid North Dakota are continuing their…

By Michael M. Miller michael.miller@ndsu.eduLarry Kruckenberg of Cheyenne, WY, a native of Hazen, ND, has authored a new book, “Big Bend Country: A Journey of Good Times, Hard Times, and Hope,” available from GRHC.Kruckenberg…

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comIs Texas Senate Bill 8 only the beginning?If it wasn’t so insulting to primates, it looks as if some of the most vocal anti-abortion lawmakers in North Dakota wish to adapt a monkey see monkey do…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com If This Country Isn’t Going to Hell, It’s Certainly Becoming OneIn that most Christians today no longer believe in Christ’s messages, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to remain one.…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com15 July 2021With Grand Forks being a hop skip and a cruise away from Fargo-Moorhead, our neighbors to the north have some great dining options. Whether you’re planning on spending a weekend or…

Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com15 July 2021“We have a guy that's been involved with the show for many years as a landlord and knew what it was like in the heydays. So he knows where he wants to take it.” says WE Fest General…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMatt Myers died unexpectedly on August 20 while exploring Iceland with Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, his partner of 38 years. We are still trying, without success, to make sense of it.His large circle,…

By  Sabrina Hornung sabrina@hpr1.com2021 marks the 18th annual FMVA Studio Crawl, the Fargo-Moorhead Visual Artists’ largest event. This year 38…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…