Help for under-insured expanding
By Cathy Palmer
The Winter Haven Sun
HAINES CITY – It’s not often that one goes to an indoor groundbreaking, but last week Haines City Chamber of Commerce members, city officials and Central Florida Health Care leaders did.
At 705 Ingraham Ave. in downtown Haines City, the health care service symbolically broke ground last Wednesday on its latest clinic, just a stone’s throw from the city hall and library facilities.
CFHC is taking an older building and jazzing it up over the next months, but that won’t stop the work that goes on inside. The health care service provider who treats Polk County’s poor, under-insured and migrant population will continue to provide services while workmen transform the existing facility into a building with a modern, up-to-date facade and make space inside for new and expanded services.
Since it opened its doors last month, the clinic has been providing local residents primary health care, chronic disease treatment, giving physical exams, seeing well-care patients, dealing with communicable diseases, doing cardiovascular risk assessments, general health screening and offering navigator services.
All told, CFHC saw more than 35,000 patients last year and is expecting to see that number increase with the opening of the latest Polk location.
Navigator services, according to CFHC CEO Ann Claussen, is a service that steers clients towards other service agencies that they may need and help make transitions to assistance to other supportive agencies easier.
“Many of our clients don’t speak English so have a hard time finding out what agencies in Polk County provide what services that are available to them. Our navigators help them through that and see they get the help they need,” Claussen said.
The executive also said that in 2018, CFHC will be adding a pharmacy, family planning, OB/GYN services, a lab, X-ray facilities, behavioral health counseling, dental care, well child exams and immunizations for children to its list of services.
Claussen explained the Haines City facility was purchased, like most of its 10 locations in the county, with federal grant funds earmarked for indigent and migrant worker care. She told the chamber gathering that the property and renovation was paid or will be paid for with a $650,000 grant.
Claussen also said the grant funds had an abbreviated shelf life, so her team had to move quickly to obtain the building and get a contractor on board to renovate the building.
“We believe we can have all the renovations completed and a complete menu of services in place within 12 to 18 months,” she said.
Central Florida Health Care’s Haines City service clinic will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday