For Collier County’s 50,000 uninsured workers, it’s a right they often can’t afford as they labor for housing, food, clothing and to meet their families ‘needs.
These individuals work hard yet struggle to make ends meet. For many, the Neighborhood Health Clinic is the safety net that catches them when they are confronted with sudden illness, injury, or face the results of years without access to basic medical care.
Founded in 1999 by Bill Lascheid, MD, and his wife Nancy Lascheid, RN, the Clinic was created to deliver quality medical and dental care to low-income, working but uninsured adults residing in Collier County, using a volunteer professional staff and funded solely by private donations.
In its first year, the Clinic operated with one doctor, one nurse, one volunteer and eight patients. Twenty years into a mission of hope and healing, the team sees 200 patients a week, providing 10,000 patient visits and 27,065 procedures annually.
This miraculous work is passionately provided by 250 physicians, 42 dentists, 100 nurses and 300 non-medical personnel donating their expertise and supported by 13 full-time and 7 part-time staff.
Since opening, the Clinic has become the heart of the Naples medical community – providing uninsured employees access to the care they need to continue working, parenting and contributing to society.
From the beginning, the nonprofit has relied on generous donations, grants and community collaborations to proactively address the challenges presented by Southwest Florida’s growth and the resulting healthcare needs.
This year, the Clinic is celebrating two decades of hope and healing in a recently renovated facility that offers a Dental Suite with four operatories. In February, services will expand again to include a comprehensive Radiology Suite staffed in partnership with Millennium Physician Group to ensure patients receive necessary x-rays, MRIs and other imaging without having to leave the grounds.
Additional plans are already underway to expand specialty care, including the in-house medical laboratory, Cardiology, Gynecology and Ophthalmology clinics, as well as Patient Education.
“Our goal has always been to provide the highest quality, comprehensive care in a manner that is respectful, compassionate and based on the latest research and our patients’ needs,” explains Executive Director Leslie Lascheid.
“How we do this has changed over the years and will continue to evolve to best serve our patients and the community.”
Open Monday through Friday, the Clinic provides patients one-stop access to general practitioners and specialty clinics for Cardiology, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Hepatology, Lipids, Neurology, Rheumatology, Urology, Hepatitis C, Dental and Gynecology to increase continuity of care while reducing time away from work.
An onsite medication room allows patients to leave appointments with their non-narcotic prescriptions in-hand, increasing adherence and improving health outcomes. Professionals also provide patient education and research projects, including Diabetes Self-Management, Healthy Lifestyles, Breast Health Awareness, Smoking Cessation, Pain Management, Colon Cancer Screening, Social Services, Hepatitis C Treatment and Support.
While patients must fall within specific guidelines to qualify for care, those who do enjoy access to these comprehensive services for a donation of $20 a month, including medication, within the Clinic complex.
Collaborations with Physicians Regional Medical Centers and Physicians Day Surgery, Millennium Physician Group, David Lawrence Mental Health Center and Gastroenterology Group of Naples expand the Clinic’s reach even further.
Self-proclaimed “Clinic graduate” Eddy explains, “Because they helped me with my sickness, I’m improved and was moved to a higher level job. I’m a regularly paid employee now with insurance. Because of the Clinic’s care, my life just gets better and better.”
As Lascheid concludes, “We’re people helping people; providing hope and healing to those who need it. It’s our vision, our mission, our passion and we’re thankful to everyone who makes it possible.”
The Neighborhood Health Clinic is a volunteer-driven 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. For more information on eligibility and services, please call 239.261.6600, or visit www.NeighborhoodHealthClinic.org.