Finding assurance without insurance

Being uninsured or under-insured doesn't mean forgoing healthcare. "We take care of all citizens and res
May 24, 2010


Being uninsured or under-insured doesn’t mean forgoing healthcare.

“We take care of all citizens and residents,” said Dave Moncher, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Firelands Regional Medical Center.

Firelands Regional Medical Center offers help to residents who may need financial assistance.

Moncher suggests uninsured or under-insured people who need non-emergency medical assistance contact the Fireland’s Family Practice Clinic.

For nearly 30 years, the clinic has offered professional medical care at little or no cost to individuals and families who don’t have healthcare or lack the ability to pay.

“We don’t discriminate in any way, shape or form,” Moncher said.

If it’s an emergency, Moncher suggests people head straight for the emergency room. The hospital staffs financial counselors who review bills for those who may not be able to pay. Patients can fill out a financial assistance application and the counselors can either write off the bill as charity or offer a significant discount.

Last year, Firelands provided $2.03 million in charity care to more than 8,000 people.

“We provide 24 (hours), seven (days) a week coverage to all the residents in the community,” Moncher said.

The Erie County Health Department also offers help to those who may need it.

The clinic offers dental work to patients who need dental care and don’t have insurance or enough money.

The mobile dental clinic visits the health department’s parking lot twice a month.

The vehicle is run by the Toledo-based Dental Center of Northwest Ohio. For almost four months, the mobile dental clinic has been coming to the health department, 420 Superior St., on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

The health department also offers a public health clinic that has a strong emphasis on women’s health.

“I like to think those services are second to none,” said Pete Schade, Erie County’s health commissioner.

The health clinic staffs a doctor and two certified nurse practitioners and offers everything from prenatal visits to colonoscopies, in addition to family planning consultations. The clinic also offers immunizations for a slight administrative cost, as well as testing and education about sexually transmitted diseases.

“The clinic provides a lot of safeguards for the community,” Schade said.

The health department is exploring the idea of expanding to include men’s health to the clinic. The department is working to receive funding for this expansion.

“Between all of our nurses ... we can pretty much take care of somebody. If they have a serious issue, we can call somebody who can help,” Schade said.