The Trust and Southside United Health Center announced expanded primary care services for nearly 4,000 Forsyth County residents today. Thanks to a $302,000 grant from the Trust, Southside will enhance health care services by expanding preventative services and establishing a care coordination team to ensure patients receive the appropriate care, referrals and follow up to improve their health. The model also ensures patients can access transportation, behavioral health and other services that can improve long-term health.
“The health care safety net in Forsyth County must be strengthened to ensure all residents have affordable options for care, and we think Southside can help fill that gap,” said Karen McNeil-Miller, president of the Trust. “We are working closely with Southside staff and leadership to determine the best way to grow and support Southside so that they can be an anchor for health care access in our community moving forward.”
Designated a Federally Qualified Health Care Center (FQHC) in 2012, the organization serves more than 3,800 low-income patients, providing more than 8,000 visits annually. Just last week, Southside also learned it will receive an additional $704,167 annually from the federal government to expand services to a second location at The SECU Commons, an integrated campus in Winston-Salem with housing, supportive services and a community environment for people at risk of homelessness.
“It’s an exciting time for our organization as we grow and expand much-needed health care services in the Winston-Salem area,” said LaShun Huntley, CEO, Southside United Health. “The Trust funding allows us to continue improving the way we provide health care to those residents who have few options for affordable, quality care.”
In early 2010, the Trust made a $440,000 grant to the North Carolina Community Health Center Association to provide training and technical assistance over 18 months to the state’s community health centers, including Southside, as they worked to apply for the new federal dollars made available by the Affordable Care Act.
“These clinics, known as FQHCs, are often the only option for affordable care in financially needy communities, and we want to support the growth of Southside to ensure Forsyth County residents can access care,” said Joe Crocker, director of the Trust’s Poor and Needy Division. “The Trust is committed to finding new and innovative ways to improve the health of North Carolina’s neediest communities, and we believe investing in the community health center model is critical to meet that goal.”
Health centers serve more than 20 million patients nationwide and employ more than 138,000 people, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In North Carolina, there are currently 30 sponsoring organizations operating 150 clinic sites serving 450,000 people. Winston-Salem was the last urban area in the state to receive federal funding for an FQHC.
The Trust grant to Southside was announced as part of the Trust’s recent grant cycle. The Trust’s Poor and Needy Division also announced an additional $2.4 million in grants to organizations working in Forsyth County. Funded programs included a number of professional development opportunities for child care providers, pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers to improve interactions between teachers and children and strengthen young children’s readiness for school as part of the new Great Expectations initiative.