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HealthServe to close its doors

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GREENSBORO — Three years ago, Yvette Bailey ruptured her Achilles tendon.

She couldn’t work. She didn’t have insurance.

She received care at HealthServe Community Health Clinic.

Bailey must find another place to get treatment for her continuing health problems, which include diabetes and hypertension.

On Tuesday, the clinic announced that it will shut down Aug. 30. Staff members will see patients through Aug. 9.

“I don’t have the means for getting my medication. I’m in school right now so I can get a job, but until that time comes it just leaves me without services,” said Bailey, 55, who is pursuing a master’s degree in adult education at N.C. A&T.

“This is something that I really didn’t intend on having to go through. It just leaves me distraught. Without proper health care, I can’t continue to function, because of all the issues I have.”

The closure comes about three months after another HealthServe clinic, on Cone Boulevard, closed

The clinic at 1002 S. Eugene St. provides care mainly to low-income patients, with copayments on a sliding scale based on a patient’s income.

It has about 8,500 active patients, and logged on average about 25,000 to 30,000 visits a year.

“There’s going to be significant spillage into the community,” said Brian Ellerby, the chief executive officer of Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine. “The number of patients we’ve seen over the past three, four years, that number is 20,000 people.

“And when a person comes here, they get to see a doctor, they get to see a behavioral health specialist, they get to see a registered dietitian,” Ellerby said. “And all those services are going to be lost.”

The clinic opened in 1993 as a partnership between Greensboro Urban Ministry and Moses Cone Hospital. It evolved from a volunteer-led program that offered medical care at the ministry’s Pathways homeless shelter.

In 2010, the clinic merged with a couple of other programs to form Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine.

TAPM’s pediatric practices and an adult practice in High Point will not be affected by the closure of HealthServe.

Ellerby said the past several years have been rough financially for the clinic.

“Since the economic downturn in 2007, we’ve seen loss of jobs, seen people not being able to find jobs that provide health care coverage,” he said. “And due to economic conditions, more people kept coming in for services.”

The clinic, Ellerby said, had an annual budget of about $4.3 million, which had traditionally come from Guilford County, Cone Health and private donations, but in 2011, the county did away with about $1 million in funding for the clinic and this March, Cone Health withdrew about $1.2 million in funding.

Also this year, the state legislature declined to expand Medicaid coverage. Ellerby said many of HealthServe’s patients might have been covered by such an expansion, which would have provided a much needed source of revenue for the clinic.

Patients sitting in the waiting room Tuesday said they were worried about where to seek treatment after the place closes.

“Honestly, this is going to have a devastating impact,” said Katherine Stiles, 27, who has asthma. “I don’t have insurance, and this was a place I could come get my inhalers for free, instead of paying $50, $100. But now, where am I supposed to go?”

Merle Green, the public health director for Guilford County, said patients can seek treatment at the Evans-Blount Community Health Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, which also offers rates on a sliding scale based on income.

But Green said “we’ll have a challenging task, replacing the level of service at HealthServe.”

“Our community has a limited number of safety nets for the uninsured,” she said. “It definitely is a tragedy that the health care situation has been affected the way that it has here.”

GREENSBORO — HealthServe Community Healthcare Clinic will close Aug. 30.

The clinic at 1002 S. Eugene St. provides free and no-cost medical care. It opened in 1993 as a partnership between Urban Ministry and Moses Cone.

The closure will affect about 20,000 patients.

In a news release, Chief Executive officer Brian Ellerby said patients will be notified of the closing by mail.

Effective Friday, August 30, 2013, Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine, Inc. will close its adult practice in Greensboro — HealthServe Community Health Clinic.

These measures do not affect care for children who will continue to be served at TAPM’s pediatric practices, nor will they affect TAPM’s adult practice located in the City of High Point.

“The ability to continue to provide care to more than 70% uninsured adult patient base at HealthServe is no longer financially feasible,” Ellerby said. “Patient notification of the closure will begin this week.

"A letter will be mailed to the last address on record to all patients who have been seen within the last three years. Patients are being instructed to identify a new provider of care.”

Visit throughout the day for more details as information becomes available.

Contact Robert C. Lopez at 691-5091, and follow @rclopez79 on Twitter.


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