April 02, 2014 - Norwalkers take advantage of in-person health insurance enrollment
NORWALK -- Norwalker Maria DeSilva is uninsured and in dire need of an operation to eradicate the tumors that have wrapped around her vocal chord.
Currently, DeSilva has a discount card for the community health center, where she can receive check-ups, CT scans and other standard procedures, but the card does not cover surgery she needs and the subsequent hospital stay it will require. DeSilva was hoping to gain emergency enrollment from an insurance plan during Access Health CT\'s in-person health insurance enrollment assistance program Saturday at Norwalk Community Health Center.
\"I need insurance anyway,\" she said. \"I just hope it\'s cheaper.\"
As the deadline for enrolling in health care to avoid tax penalties approaches, dozens of residents like DeSilva took advantage of the enrollment assistance program. Representatives from Access Health CT -- Connecticut\'s contribution to the federal affordable care act -- were on hand for four hours to assist residents with enrolling in health insurance, as residents packed the OB/GYN waiting area to take advantage of the program.
Access Health CT, also known as the Exchange, was created by the Connecticut legislature in 2011 as a quasi-public agency to satisfy requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). As of March 9, 152,561 residents have enrolled in health care coverage through Access Health CT.
President Barack Obama initially set a deadline of Monday, March 31 for Americans to comply with the ACA by obtaining health insurance. Obama said this past week that Americans who began filling out health insurance applications prior to the deadline would have until April 7 to complete those applications.
Although Obama has given Americans some leeway on the deadline for acquiring health insurance without penalization, Access Health CT has set a deadline of Monday at midnight for those who wish to have insurance coverage by May 1. Access Health CT reports receiving a \"surge\" of residents looking to enroll in one of their health care programs prior to the deadline.
Those who enroll in health care coverage after the deadline or fail to enroll in an insurance program can face a penalty of \"one percent of your gross household income over the federal income tax filing threshold or $95 per individual, whichever amount is greater,\" according to a news release from Access Health CT.
On Saturday, representatives from Access Health CT received traffic from residents with scheduled appointments as well as walk-ins. Norwalker Romeo and Regina Miranda and their 14-year-old daughter Khatrina were among the families looking to receive health insurance for the first time. The Miranda family, who immigrated to the United States from the Philipines, were denied enrollment in the state\'s HUSKY insurance program, and representatives from Access Health were assisting them in finding out their eligibility for various health care coverage programs. The family said they have Norwalk Community Health Center discount cards and receive medical care through the center.
Harry Patel, also of Norwalk, said he attended the in-person enrollment assistance program to compare the prices of various insurance plans. He is insured, but he said it \"wouldn\'t hurt to find out\" if a better option is available.
\"If it\'s worth it, then I will consider it,\" he said.
To assist residents with obtaining health insurance before the deadline, Access Health will also host in-person enrollment in Stamford at Americares, 88 Hamilton Ave. from 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday.
April 01, 2014 - Towards an insured and healthy Norwalk
To the Editor:
"My wife is making an appointment for her first pap smear in seven years now that she has health insurance. Will she be able to get a colonoscopy too?" Said with a smile on his face, a recent patient asked me this during a visit here at the Norwalk Community Health Center. Happy to tell him "yes," this is just one example of a middle-aged couple from Norwalk who have already realized the benefits of obtaining health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Since the fall of 2013, our dedicated, skilled and compassionate team of enrollment and eligibility specialists have been on the front lines of healthcare reform, making sure all residents of Norwalk and its surrounding towns are educated about Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act) and enrolled in healthcare insurance. We have educated more than 1,600 people about Obamacare -- and many of them have families -- making the number of affected individuals likely more near 2,600! What's more, nearly 900 individuals and families have enrolled in some sort of insurance so far -- leading to over 1,400 newly insured people -- one of the reasons that Connecticut leads the nation in enrollment and has reached 238 percent of its target for enrollment.
We have always cared for those with and without insurance here at the health center, and will continue to do so. For those with new healthcare insurance coverage, though, several of the barriers to full patient engagement in care have been lessened or eliminated. For example, pap smears and colonoscopies- and all evidence-based cancer screening -- is covered without a co-pay. Many medications are now reduced cost or covered under their new plan with less out of pocket expense. Many patients are receiving preventive care that is long overdue and as a result will stay healthier longer, or detect disease at earlier stages, which leads to more effective and often less costly treatments.
Time is short -- people have until the end of March to enroll in Obamacare, and here at the health center, due to the demand, we have extended evening and Saturday hours. More information on enrollment is available at the federal website www.healthcare.gov or the state exchange website www.accesshealthct.com.
Doug Olson, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Norwalk Community Health Center
February 26, 2014 - Faces of the Affordable Care Act - Douglas Olson|The Doctor (wsj.com)
Douglas Olson | The Doctorhttp://graphics.wsj.com/HealthProfiles/#profile=8
(wsj.com, retrieved Feb. 2014)
February 07, 2014 - Local Pols Encourage Families To Reach Out And Read
Local pols encourage families to Reach Out and Read
NORWALK -- Thursday morning, patients at the Norwalk Community Health Center got the important message to read aloud to your children from some local dignitaries.
On blankets in the health center's waiting room State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) and state Rep. Chris Perone (D-137) visited and read to health center patients as part of the Reach Out and Read program.
"Any time we can promote literacy in any venue in our community is important," said Duff, who read "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed," "Lola and the Library" and "Es Mio/It's Mine" to the assembled parents and children. "We can read to little kids who need to be read to every single day."
Reach Out and Read partners with pediatricians to provide books to families and encourages them to read together. The health center participates in the program through a United Way grant administered by the Norwalk Early Childhood Council.
"We promote early literacy and parental engagement," said Reach Out and Read state Program Director Christine Garber. The program, Garber said, uses the parent-doctor relationship to help prepare students for school. "Its really bringing it to a place all children go," she said "(Pediatricians are) usually very well respected by the parents. It's a trusted relationship. We would think if they were able to take advice from anyone, it would be from their pediatrician."
Nationally, Reach Out and Read reaches 5,000 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics and health centers, 70 of which are in Connecticut, where it reaches 40,000 children and families.
The message, Perone said, was especially important as it is backed up by evidence.
"There are a lot of studies that show how important early reading is," he said. "There are even some studies that indicate kids who are reading like in this program are six months ahead by the time they hit kindergarten."
Perone, who read "Books, Books, Books" and "The Bear Went Over the Mountain," said Thursday's event was a great way to connect with the community.
"The moms loved it, the kids definitely loved it," he said. "Anything that brings parents and kids together (is good). It's important to demonstrate how important reading is to kids."
January 28, 2014 - Norwalk Community Health Center to provide free checkups, medical services for Head Start
Norwalk Community Health Center to provide free checkups, medical services for Head Start
NORWALK -- The Norwalk Community Health Center will provide medical services to local Head Start children under an agreement being worked out with the Norwalk Housing Authority (NHA)
"We are working with them to be their designated health provider for the children who require health services," said Lawrence Cross, Community Health Center CEO. "We're very excited to be partnering with them. We're going to provide them the medical services they need."
Cross met Wednesday with NHA officials, including Executive Director Curtis O. Law, as the housing authority prepares to take over operation of Norwalk's Head Start program (see related story).
"We're excited because they do an excellent job and it's part of the service that's offered by the Head Start program," Law said. "It will be part of the agreement. We have a number of providers that will be providing certain things. There will not be any cost to families."
Law said the medical services will include physical checkups and things of that nature.
The health center serves low-income residents in Norwalk and has operated since April 2010 from a new 24,500-square-foot facility at 120 Connecticut Ave.
The center takes care of 12,000 Norwalk residents, and provides over 48,000 medical office visits every year. Transportation to and from the health center is free for qualified individuals and families, according to the health center's website.
December 03, 2013 - NCHC receives recognition as a NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home
Norwalk Community Health Center receives prestigious recognition as a NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home.
Norwalk, CT (November 11, 2013) – Recently, Norwalk Community Health Center (NCHC) received Level 2 recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH 2011).
“The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of 21st century primary care that combines access, teamwork, and technology to deliver quality care and improve health,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “NCQA’s PCMH 2011 Recognition shows that Norwalk Community Health Center has tools, systems, and resources to provide their patients with the right care at the right time.” “The active, ongoing relationship between a patient and a physician in medical homes fosters an all-too-rare goal in care: staying healthy and preventing illness in the first place.”
In order to be recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home with NCQA, an organization needs to show evidence of work towards improving access, continuity and culturally appropriate care, electronic charting tools to organize clinical information, patient-driven care, quality improvement and reporting on different clinical metrics, following evidence-based care management for chronic conditions, tracking test results and referrals, and coordination of care to outside health care organizations and agencies.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Douglas Olson noted that "The health center's mission of providing comprehensive, patient-centered, high value, culturally appropriate care has again been recognized and the PCMH designation is a testament to that."
Norwalk Community Health Center has continually focused on providing the highest quality of care for its patients and serving all of their health care needs. The health center strives to enhance and improve the overall patient experience and strengthen the relationship between the patient and provider.
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality and accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers. NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home 2011 recognition is valid for three years.
Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Cross noted that “PCMH recognition represents a significant achievement by the health center in its strategy to deliver the best possible care to the residents of Norwalk. Patients can be assured that NCHC will continually strive to remain on the cutting edge of delivering quality health care to all, regardless of ability to pay.”
About Norwalk Community Health Center
A vital resource for thousands of Norwalk residents, young and old, the Norwalk Community Health Center is here for all who need us. We believe that everyone deserves access to quality medical care regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, health status, religion, sexual orientation, education or ability to pay.
As Norwalk’s Federally Qualified Health Center, our goal is to help all community residents share good health and quality of life. In a state-of-the-art medical facility on Connecticut Avenue, patients have access to comprehensive adult, pediatric and OB/GYN medical services.
Special support services are also available such as mental health and case management services, and programs in health, nutrition, and finance. In addition, NCHC serves the homeless and residents of public housing through its Mobile Medical Unit.
NCHC takes care of over 12,000 Norwalk residents, and provides over 45,000 medical office visits every year. Transportation to and from the health center is free for qualified individuals and families.
October 09, 2013 - October 21-25, 2013- Infection Control Prevention Week-Theme:
Infection Control Prevention Week
Theme:” Infection Prevention is Everyone’s Business”
October 21-25, 2013
Adult and Pediatric Skits
Educational Opportunities for staff and patients
May 27, 2011 - Welcome to Our New Website
Welcome to our recently launched web site featuring useful content including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for new patients, health practitioner biographies and a Google map functionality to help patients find the Center.
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Norwalk Community Health Center | 120 Connecticut Avenue | Norwalk, CT 06854