Looking Back…and Moving Forward

Looking back on 2017, I am amazed at how quickly it arrived and a little shocked that it’s almost over. To paraphrase the saying, time really flies when you are busy (and having fun).  And at Health Care Center for the Homeless (HCCH), we have been very busy and, on occasion, having fun because we love what we do.  Caring for more patients each year, our staff has grown to over 150 individuals throughout all our program areas and Orange Blossom Family Health service sites.

Thinking about 2017, here are two of the highlights for HCCH:

In March of 2017, we took over as the health care provider at the Evans Wellness Center on the campus of Evans High School. We are currently providing primary medical care for students and community members and hope to implement dental services within this location in 2018.  One of our mobile dental unit is helping to fill this gap on a limited basis, but we look forward to having fixed dental services at this location in the near future.

Just under two weeks ago we opened our first pediatric site, Orange Blossom Pediatrics. Located on the campus of the Orange County Public Schools Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), this new site will provide comprehensive medical and dental care for children and youth.  We are so excited about our first pediatric location and our partnerships within ACE and beyond.  Orange Blossom Pediatrics is home to eight medical exam rooms and eight dental operatories.  Medical services are underway and dental services are expected to begin in February 2018.

There are now six Orange Blossom sites in Orange County and one each in Osceola and Seminole Counties. Along with our mobile medical and dental units, we are able to reach so many community members in need throughout the tri-county area we serve.  Access to care is key in addressing the needs of uninsured and under-insured residents.

Moving into 2018, we have two exciting occasions to look forward to right off the bat:

Health Care Center for the Homeless will celebrate 25 years of service next year. Yes – we will be a quarter of a century old in May of 2018.  Hard to imagine that we were once an evening medical clinic at a local homeless shelter with just two exam rooms when you look at all we do now.  Growth and progress – so exciting!!

2018 will also see HCCH breaking ground on a new comprehensive health center in the 32811 Zip code. Orange Blossom Family Health in the Ivy Lane community will feature 15 medical exam rooms, eight dental operatories, behavioral health services and an on-site pharmacy.  And we literally get to watch this health center develop from the ground up.  We should be breaking ground in the first quarter of 2018, with completion anticipated before the end of the year.

I could go on, but I will stop there for now.

At Health Care Center for the Homeless, we believe quality health care services are everyone’s right and should be universally accessible. The generosity of our community all year long helps us to accomplish our mission “to provide quality health care services that improve the lives of the homeless and medically indigent people of our community.” If you would like more information about the initiatives listed above or maybe you have just made the decision to support HCCH, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  You can email me at tbetts@hcnetwork.org or call me at (407) 428-5751 Ext. 326. Please get in touch if you would like a tour, have questions, or just to say hi.

Thank you so much for your support – financially, in-kind and as advocates for the work we do and those we care for. It does take a village.  We appreciate your commitment to help us improve our patients’ health and their lives.

Happy New Year!!

 

If you would like to make a financial donation to support the programs and services at

Health Care Center for the Homeless, please click here.

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Happy Holidays!!!

HOLIDAY CARD COVER 12-19-17

The holidays are such a wonderful time of year.  While we might be a little (or a lot!) stressed from all the errands and shopping and baking, the kind and caring feelings we have all year long still find a way to bubble to the top.  The music is what does it for me, even when I am feeling the pressure to get it all done.

This time of year, we are more thankful for (and more appreciative of) the people in our lives and how fortunate we are in general.  At Health Care Center for the Homeless (HCCH), we are grateful for the patients who place their care in our hands and the generous souls throughout our community and beyond who support our efforts.

As we near the end of 2017, many people are looking to give back and make their charitable gifts. We hope you will choose to support the health services that we provide for our homeless and housed but uninsured community members.  If you haven’t already sent your gift, there is still time. While some people can give more than others, no gift is small when you consider the collective impact of all giving.  Every dollar you invest in our efforts impacts the health of those receiving care at our Orange Blossom Family Health locations and on our mobile medical and dental units.  And at our new Orange Blossom Pediatrics location on the campus of the Orange County Public Schools Academic Center for Excellence (ACE).

Here are some examples of what your gift can do:

– $50 can provide a month-long Lynx bus pass for one of our Permanent Supportive Housing clients. 

– $65 can provide an uninsured woman with a screening mammogram. 

– $75 can provide a dental sealant exam for a first or second grade student through our mobile dental unit.

– $200 can provide a denture arch for a homeless patient. ($400 can provide a full set of upper and lower dentures – talk about a reason to smile!)

– $600 can provide our services for a patient for a whole year. 

A gift of any size makes a difference and the impact of all gifts together is profound.  Your support absolutely touches the lives of our patients. Your gift can change lives by improving health outcomes and simply helping someone feel better. And your investment in HCCH can save lives.  Think about the uninsured woman with a family history of breast cancer who can’t afford a mammogram. Early detection will make all the difference if she has cancer. Or the man walking around with high blood pressure who can’t afford to go to the doctor. He is a stroke or heart attack waiting to happen. Your gift can improve their health outcomes. You make a difference to them.

And every dollar counts.  You can invest in our efforts by clicking the Give Now! link at the bottom of the page. Or mail your check if you prefer the classics like I do. Our mailing address is at the bottom of the page as well.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about what we do and who we serve. Come for a tour of our main site and see firsthand what your support is doing (or can do).  Call me at (407) 428-5751 Ext. 326 or email me at tbetts@hcnetwork.org so we can arrange a visit.  We love to talk about our organization (a lot!) and are happy to answer any questions you might have. We do amazing work here – we want you to be a part of that work.

We hope you will choose to give today so that our patients will have a healthier tomorrow.

Give Now!

 

 

Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc.

Serving our community as Orange Blossom Family Health and Orange Blossom Pediatrics

232 N. Orange Blossom Trail (main office)

Orlando, Florida 32805

http://www.hcch.org

Giving Tuesday 2017

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There’s Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. And then there is Giving Tuesday. After all the excitement of buying presents for friends and loved ones (and maybe a little something for ourselves), there is a chance to give back and help those in need. And while you may not personally know the people you are helping, the impact you are making on their lives and their health is huge.

Founded in 1993, Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. (HCCH) provides quality health care services for our homeless and housed but uninsured and under-insured community members in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Through our Orange Blossom Family Health sites, we are caring for under-served residents in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. We cared for over 18,000 unduplicated patients received care within our Orange Blossom Family Health locations in 2016. And we are on track to top that number by the end of 2017.

Our services are made possible through federal, state and local government grants; corporate support; private foundation grants; faith-based support; and individuals just like you. And we provide these services efficiently and cost-effectively. If you think your gift doesn’t make a difference, please think again. A gift in any amount, on its own or combined with others, can help save lives.

We are very excited this year to be adding a new health center location to our family – Orange Blossom Pediatrics. Located on the campus of the Orange County Public Schools Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) in Orlando, Orange Blossom Pediatrics will serve children and youth living in the Parramore Community, the 32805 Zip code and the surrounding areas. Opening soon, services available at Orange Blossom Pediatrics will include primary medical care, oral health services and behavioral health counseling. Wouldn’t you love to be a part of our effort to provide access to health services for children?

As an overall organization, our services include primary and preventive medical care, oral health services, mental health counseling, pharmacy services, mobile medical and dental units, outreach and permanent supportive housing. $50 can provide a mental health counseling session for an uninsured patient. $65 can provide a screening mammogram for an uninsured woman. $75 can provide a dental sealant visit for a first or second grade student. $200 can provide a full or partial denture arch for a homeless patient ($400 for a whole set!!). $300 can provide monthly bus passes for a housing client for one year, providing transportation for multiple services including health care and job training. $600 can cover the average cost of care for one patient for a full year. I could keep going. These are just some examples of the difference your support can make.

We love to talk about what we do. And we love to show people what we do and the difference their support can make. If you would like to come for a tour of our main location in Orlando or you would simply like to know more about our services, give me a call at (407) 428-5751 Ext. 326. Or email me at tbetts@hcnetwork.org.

Your gift today, and on any day, will help our patients have a healthier tomorrow. We hope you will choose to support the efforts of Health Care Center for the Homeless as we continue our mission “to provide quality health care services that improve the lives of the homeless and medically indigent people of our community.”

Give Now

You Can Give Joy

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Dr. Loretta Scott

This is the time of year when we give thanks for what and who we have in our lives, brighten the holidays for others with thoughtful gifts, and maybe pick up a little something for ourselves during a fantastic sale. And maybe now you are thinking about how you can make the holiday better for a stranger in need as well.

Here at Health Care Center for the Homeless. Inc. (HCCH), we see community members in need all year long. Many don’t have much to look forward to at the holidays, especially if they are far away from those they love.  What we can do is give them a brighter future through better health.

If you were wondering about the different ways your financial gift can help our patients, here are some ideas:

$50 can provide a month-long Lynx pass for one of our Permanent Supportive Housing clients. Until recently, these clients were chronically homeless.   Some have spent years, if not decades, on the streets or in the woods of Central Florida. Now their time of isolation and hopelessness has ended and they have a small apartment to call home.  This gift can help provide transportation for medical appointments, job training opportunities, volunteering to earn shopping points, employment interviews, and peer support events to help improve socialization skills.  This gift can make the world a little bit bigger for them.

$65 can provide an uninsured woman with a screening mammogram. We encounter new female patients who have not seen a health provider for years.  They have not received certain tests that their age and/or gender would dictate they need.  Imagine living with a family history of breast cancer and not knowing your own status because you can’t afford a screening.  You can give them peace of mind in knowing they don’t have cancer.  Or you are giving them a chance to address their cancer it if that is the outcome.

$75 can provide a dental sealant exam for a first or second grade student through our mobile dental unit. Services are provided right on Title 1 school campuses, with a focus on those with the highest enrollment in the free or reduced lunch program.  Students don’t miss school and parents don’t miss work and needed care is received.   And a foundation of good oral health habits is built. We aren’t completely healthy if we are not addressing our dental needs along with our physical and mental health needs.  It is all part of the big picture at HCCH.

$200 can provide a full or partial denture arch for one of our homeless patients. $400 can provide a full set of dentures.  Can you think of any better reason for someone to smile than to have a beautiful new smile to show off?  What an amazing gift for the holidays.  And it is a gift that will keep on giving with better nutrition (since they are better able to chew their food), improved self-esteem, and increased employability.  I remember one client who was excited that he would be able to enjoy corn-on-the-cob again, his favorite food.

$500 can provide our services for a patient for a whole year. Yes – that is the average cost of care for a patient within our Orange Blossom Family Health location over one year.  Some patients need more care, others require less.  But they all need your help.

Please don’t ever think you can’t make a difference. You may not be able to make a large gift, but your support in any amount touches someone’s life.  Your gift, along with all the others, changes lives.  It helps to save lives.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about what we do. Come for a visit and see firsthand what your support is doing or can do. Call me at (407) 428-5751 or email me at tbetts@hcch.org.  I would love to tell you more about what we do or answer any questions you might have.

We hope you will choose to give today so that our patients will have a healthier tomorrow.

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”   Aesop

Give Joy Now

Giving Tuesday 2016!

At Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. (HCCH), we provide quality health care services for our homeless and housed but uninsured community members in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.   Through our main Orange Blossom Family Health location and five satellite sites, we are caring for our under-served residents in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties with income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

HCCH offers program areas that include primary and preventive medical care, oral health services, mental health counseling, pharmacy services, mobile medical and dental services, outreach and permanent supportive housing. We are able to provide these services efficiently and cost-effectively.

$50 can provide a month’s bus pass for a newly housed client within our permanent supportive housing program. This would allow them access to transportation for medical appointments, employment training, and job interviews as well as additional opportunities.

$50 can provide a mental health counseling session for an uninsured patient. Our behavioral health staff is able to help their patients make better life choices and assist them in dealing with day to day pressures.

$65 can provide a screening mammogram for an uninsured woman, giving her peace of mind and access to additional care as needed.

$75 can provide a dental sealant visit for a first or second grade student through our mobile dental unit. The oral health education and care provided for children help build a foundation of proper oral hygiene habits that they will carry with them throughout their lives.

$200 can provide a full or partial denture arch for a homeless patient, giving them the gift of a beautiful smile. In Florida’s service driven economy, this can make the difference in a patient’s ability to secure regular employment as well as improve their self-esteem, nutrition and speech patterns.

$500 can cover the average cost of care for one patient for a full year. That is an amazing figure for 12 months of health care services.

The list can go on and on if we were to look at all our program areas and all the patients we serve each year.  But I think you get the idea.

HCCH is fortunate to receive federal, state and local funding. But this funding does not cover all the work that we do.  We depend on the generosity of our community to help provide care for our uninsured neighbors.  In 2015, we cared for almost 16,000 unduplicated patients.  Over 71% were uninsured and over 70% were living at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.  This equated to earning less than $12,000 in pre-tax income.  Can you imagine trying to meet your daily needs with so little income?  Can you imagine how far down on your list of priorities health care would be when finding food and shelter would be a challenge every day?

On this Giving Tuesday, every dollar you donate will help us care for the thousands of patients we serve every year. Every dollar makes an impact.  The collective impact of our donors generosity changes lives.  We hope you will choose to support the efforts of Health Care Center for the Homeless as we continue our mission “to provide quality health care services that improve the lives of the homeless and medically indigent people of our community.”

We truly cannot do this alone. We need your support. 

Give Now

 

What Are You Grateful For?

At this time of the year, we often think of the things we are grateful for. Perhaps it’s our health or the blessings in our lives or maybe it’s the warmth and support of home and family.  These thoughts fill our minds with fond memories, giving deeper meaning to the phrase, “there’s no place like home.”

However, what if you didn’t have a home?  What if your family gave up on you…or worse, you have given up on yourself?   What if your health is continuing to decline and you do not have access to health care services?  Your mind may be filled with thoughts of hopelessness and despair.  You feel like there is no place left to turn and life centers on day to day existence.

We often ask ourselves, how does this happen?  Do people choose to be homeless? 

What is being done to address the lives of these individuals?

I can tell you for the majority of people who find themselves homeless it is because of unforeseen circumstances such as a job loss or illness.   Many people are only a paycheck or two away from being homeless.   A catastrophic illness can wipe out a family’s savings in a short time and without adequate health care, the results can be devastating.  At Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. (HCCH), we are also finding a surprising number of single women and children experiencing homelessness.

I can guarantee that these children did not choose to be homeless. Is this the childhood we want our children to have?

The individuals that cross the threshold at our health centers, Orange Blossom Family Health, may be homeless, feeling isolated and alone and possibly living in the woods or on the streets.  Many of our patients are housed but have lacked access to health care services.  They struggle and often feel like they are fighting a losing battle.  Some of our patients have behavioral health and substance abuse issues, often suffering from self-alienation and depression.  At Orange Blossom Family Health, we see individuals with poor or declining health who have tried to manage their chronic illnesses without the benefit of professional medical care.

Each day, we witness our patients’ pain and suffering and listen to their words of despair.  We look into the eyes of those we serve and see the faces of men, women and children in need.   For the Care Team at HCCH, these are memories that are etched into our collective consciousness.                                       

Even though we are highly successful at helping patients in need of health care services, the need often outweighs our resources.  

At the beginning, we mentioned the things we are grateful for.  Why not add helping a patient obtain the health care services they need to your list?  Knowing that you were able to share your resources to make a difference in someone’s life is its own reward.

At Health Care Center for the Homeless, we are reaching out to offer hope and a solution to meet the health care needs of the homeless and housed but uninsured.

Through our centers, Orange Blossom Family Health, we are providing primary and preventive medical care; oral health services; behavioral health and substance abuse counseling; vision services; HIV testing; an onsite pharmacy; a residential TB Shelter; and an aggressive street outreach team – the HOPE Team. This is our team that works with unsheltered individuals living in the woods and on the streets.

Last year at Orange Blossom Family Health, through our main location and our satellite sites, we served over 15,000 unduplicated patients. 

We have helped our patients return to better health, gain self-insights to make better life choices and become more self-sufficient.  Of these patients, roughly 70% of them were uninsured and most of our patients were unable to qualify for the Affordable Care Act coverage due to low income.

Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. is celebrating over 22 years of service to the Central Florida community.  In part, we owe our longevity to our supporters who have been helping our patients since our founding in 1993.  At HCCH, we have always taken a holistic approach, seeking to address the body as a whole and improve the overall health of our patients through education and involving them in managing their own care.

We at HCCH are grateful for so many things: our ability to help individuals receive the quality health care services they need; our staff who understand the need in the community; and our providers who are undaunted in their approach in creating a health care home for our patients.  We are thankful for our supporters who share their time, talent and treasure to give TODAY so our patients will have a healthier TOMORROW.

We wish you all the joy this season has to offer.  May you always be grateful for the blessings you have received and for the ability to give from your heart to make a difference in our community.

 

If you have been a past supporter, current supporter or have never given to HCCH we hope you will consider a gift this holiday season.  Your generosity will help us to provide quality health care services for our homeless and housed but uninsured neighbors.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

You Can Donate Now by Clicking on the link below:

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/HCCH

 

 

Robert’s Story

At Orange Blossom Family Health (a caring service of Health Care Center for the Homeless), we serve homeless and low-income housed but uninsured or under-insured patients in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties through our main Orlando site and three (about to be four) satellite sites. One of our providers here at our main location on Orange Blossom Trail, Dr. Chianta Lindsey, DNP, ARNP, was excited to introduce me to one of her patients.  Robert is one of her health successes and he was very happy to share his story.

Like so many others in our community and across the country, Robert lost his construction job when America faced its economic decline a few years ago.  He was unable to find employment as time progressed and arthritis eventually took hold, keeping him from seeking future jobs in his field.  Robert was unemployed, uninsured, and had no income but he wasn’t homeless – he had a friend willing to give him a place to stay.

Now 60 years old, Robert has been a patient at our main Orange Blossom Family Health site since 2012.  When Robert came for an appointment in September of 2014, he was dealing with COPD and feeling some chest pain.  His provider sent him for a chest x-ray, which discovered a mass in his right lung.  After a radiology referral for a CT scan, Robert was diagnosed with lung cancer in October.

Through our onsite Orange County referral specialist, Lawanda Barns, we were able to connect Robert with an oncologist.  After meeting with the oncologist in December 2014, surgery was performed in January of this year.  He received a right lower lobe lobectomy, removing a roughly 6 centimeter cancerous tumor.  Robert is more than happy to show off his surgical scar and is so grateful for the life-saving care he has received.

Following the surgery Robert received four rounds of chemotherapy as a precautionary measure.  He went for follow-up scan in June and the doctor could not see any more cancer at this point.  He is due for another scan in September and additional scans every three months for a year.  We all have the greatest hope that Robert is, and will remain, cancer free.

Robert’s sister, Kathy, has been with him every step of the way providing support and transportation.  She was amazed at how the process moved so well from diagnosis to surgery, especially since her brother has no insurance.   Her overall impression of Orange Blossom Family Health was how gracious everyone had been, from those within our clinic to those who helped on the secondary care side.   She stated it made her feel good to see her tax dollars supporting an organization like Health Care Center for the Homeless and the services we offer.  Both Robert and Kathy feel we have taken very good care of him.

Stories like Robert’s are what Health Care Center for the Homeless and our Orange Blossom Family Health clinic sites are all about.  Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live and the lack of insurance shouldn’t either.  And in Dr. Lindsey’s words, “Robert’s story is a testament to my personal mission and the mission of Health Care Center for the Homeless…to save lives.”

We look forward to being able to share more and more patient success stories over the coming months.  Let us know what you think about Robert’s health success.