Open since late February, Your Community Health Center has lost $20,000, CEO Amy Beechner-McCarthy told the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees Wednesday night.

Open since late February, Your Community Health Center has lost $20,000, CEO Amy Beechner-McCarthy told the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees Wednesday night.
Providing primary medical care, dental services and behavioral health treatment to anyone, but offering sliding-scale services to those who make less than 200 percent of what is defined by the federal government as poverty, the health center is losing money on those individuals in what has been described as the Medicaid coverage gap.
“We don’t have Medicaid expansion in this state,” said Beechner-McCarthy.
The gap exists between the amounts paid by Affordable Health Care Act insurance coverage and Medicaid as it now stands. The Affordable Health Care Act was designed to work with expanded Medicaid coverage to be paid 100 percent by the federal government, at least initially.
Legislatures in some states, including Missouri, have balked at the expansion, expressing distrust that the federal government will continue to fund the program at a 90 percent level once the states are hooked into it.
Meanwhile, that gap is causing problems for the hospital and health centers.
PCRMC CEO John Denbo reminded the board that Your Community Health Center is serving the patients who had been served by the Community Care Clinic, as well as Mercy’s We Care Clinic that will be closing after May 6.
Beechner-McCarthy said the new health center has seen 240 patients already, many of them in the working poor demographic and many of them in the Medicaid gap.
Denbo said the medical services for those families and individuals should be covered by the planned combination of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion.
“The state won’t take the money that’s there, available,” Denbo said. “It is unconscionable that our legislators would care so little for people that they allow that to happen.”
Asked what she is doing about the monthly shortfall, Beechner-McCarthy said she plans some fund-raising “and I’m writing grants.”
Beechner-McCarthy’s report to the board wasn’t all grim.
She reported that she is pleased that the hospital offered to house the health center on the fourth floor of the Medical Office Building.
“We were going to be in the basement of Pathways,” she said, but because of the hospital’s offer, “We walked into a beautiful six-exam room clinic.”
She explained there are 19 program requirements that the federally funded health center must follow.
Among these requirements: needs assessment of each patient, accessibility, after-hours coverage.
Beechner-McCarthy noted the hospital staff has been helpful in the opening of the clinic, even though the clinic is a separate business entity from the hospital.
It is governed by its own board and is run like any business, she said. The clinic provides quality health care for patients with health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and for private-pay patients on a sliding fee scale.
Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Don James said the arrangement between the hospital and Your Community Health Center is unusual because in most places, hospitals and similar clinics are in competition for customers. Here, the two are complementary, he said, so this model of services is being watched by others in the medical profession.
“Personally I’m very pleased,” said Dr. John Park, hospital board chairman, who thanked all hospital employees for their willingness to work with the new clinic.