Lake County Free Clinic, the only free clinic serving Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties, has received a 2021 Gold Rating from the National Association of Free Clinics Quality Standards Program.
“This recognition is an external representation of the high patient care standards that we strive to maintain,” said Marty Hiller, LCFC executive director. “We have built a reputation for whole-patient focused care over our 50 years of serving in northeast Ohio, and through our new case management program, among other initiatives, are looking forward to continuing to provide a high level of care for years to come.
“Much of this success is due to the fantastic support and collaboration with our volunteers, who live in and give back to the communities where they live.”
Hiller highlighted this collaborative effort through LCFC’s partnership with the Case Western Reserve University Physician Assistant program. Through this program, students serve at LCFC’s site for two clinics a week, under the guidance of PA instructors and Lake County residents Cynthia Booth Lord, MHS, PA-C, and Nancy Ivansek, MA, PA-C.
“Giving back to the community is a core value of the Case Western Reserve PA program,” said Lord, founding director of the CWRU Physician Assistant program. “Our CWRU PA students gain a deeper and stronger moral conviction from the community. Patients share every part of themselves so our students can learn. It is important to give back to the community that is so giving to our students. In addition, the community outreach in which our PA students participate helps them experience the social determinants of health in real time, not simulated in a classroom setting.”
The CWRU Physician Assistant Program has partnered with LCFC since 2016. Through a grant from The PA Foundation, CWRU PA students expanded access to care for northeast Ohioans by working with LCFC to add an evening clinic, which far exceeded expectations and, in only 3 hours each week of the year-long project, provided 360 visits to 230 individuals.
“The Physician Assistant Foundation — and Case Western Reserve University’s Physician Assistant Program — are committed to help those in our community who are in need,” Lord said. “We aim to be better citizens of the community and Lake County Free Clinic helps us do that by allowing us to support more individuals who are struggling with unmet health needs.”
Through October 2021, LCFC has provided nearly 900 individuals with more than 3,200 visits with a provider or for lab services, education, case management or other services, reaching pre-pandemic levels of medical service.
“LCFC is so grateful to the organizations and individuals who come alongside us to give health in our community,” Hiller said. “We are currently operating out of a temporary facility, which limits our in-office capacity; we know that as we look toward securing a permanent site for the LCFC, our ability to continue to provide high-quality care that meets the needs in our community will continue to grow.
“Our ability to grow is also measured by the support of the community. On average, every $1 donated to LCFC provides more than $12 in market-value care. Free clinics reflect the value a community places on the health of its residents, and the community’s generosity is what makes that care happen.”
Lake County Free Clinic provides no-cost medical care, lab tests, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to adults and children who are uninsured or unable to afford the costs associated with their insurance. In addition to women’s health and case management, clinic staff and volunteer providers specialize in care for chronic conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, acute conditions, like infections, rashes and colds, and preventive care. LCFC’s no-cost dental program remains suspended while the clinic operates from a temporary location in Painesville.
ABOUT LAKE COUNTY FREE CLINIC: Since 1971, Lake County Free Clinic has worked to address the unmet healthcare needs of uninsured and underinsured northeast Ohioans through the provision of no-cost, quality medical and dental care