When Health is the Real Wealth

by Karen Coney Coplin

The Senior Friendship Health Center isn’t a new organization. It’s served the medical and dental needs of Naples residents since 1985; until recently in a site near City Hall that most will remember as the (now closed) Chapel Grill restaurant. While it may have a new locale and an expanded mission, it remains true to its roots. The Center’s services are devoted to helping residents who are at least 50 years of age and, also, are at 300 percent of the poverty level.

Clients qualify as uninsured or under-insured; once so qualified financially, they will be seen by volunteer specialists to create a treatment plan. The Center’s many dedicated volunteers include treating physicians, nurses, and other specialists in broad-ranging fields of medical expertise. These include geriatric care, pulmonary, cardiology, endocrinology, gynecology, ophthalmology, nephrology, chronic disease assistance management and dermatology. Primary care assistance is offered as well.

MJ Scarpelli, the Director of Development and Marketing, also told me that the dental care provided by the Center is a game changer. The Center offers an array of services including basic exams and hygiene, crowns, fillings, dentures, oral surgery and Periodontics. “One of our patients told us…he did not have a full smile and in fact, did not smile for nearly three decades,” shared Ms. Scarpelli. “You can imagine his joy, and ours (after being treated)… it is such a wonderful thing to see him smile now.”

The Senior Friendship Health Center is located at 2355 Stanford Court, in Suite 701 (Naples, Florida 34112). Ms. Scarpelli is always on the lookout for service providers to attend to the Center’s patients; also, she welcomes (and seeks) patients who might otherwise not have heard about this organization and how it might help those in need. The website for the Center is: seniorfriendshiphealthcenter.org and the office phone number is: 239.658.3105.

One of the Center’s very worthwhile goals is to keep “non emergencies” out of the Emergency Room. Ms. Scarpelli notes, “[we want] our patients to establish a continuum of care as they age.” In some cases, patients may not qualify under the Center’s financial guidelines; in such instances the Center works hand in- hand with other organizations (such as the Collier Resource Center, profiled last month in this column) to help guide them to other channels for help in medical care and social services.

How can readers help this organization? Do you know retired medical professionals looking to “give back?” If so, look no further! Ms. Scarpelli notes that spreading the word to friends and neighbors is the foundation to this organization’s success. The Senior Friendship Health Center always has a place in their treatment rooms for medical, dental, and nursing providers, year-round, or, seasonally. So, if you know a retired or semi-retired doctor, dentist, or nurse, ask them: “Have you heard of the Naples Senior Friendship Health Center?” If not, Ms. Scarpelli is happy to complete the introduction; and, even offer a helpful (and brief) tour of their new facility. Naturally, donations are also appreciated. These go directly to an “Uninsured Patient Fund” unless specified for another purpose. Many clients of the Center cannot afford the next step in care
once seen by a Center’s specialist. This fund enables those without resources to see specialists for MRIs, CAT Scans, or biopsies, as some examples. “The fund allows patients to focus on their health and be relieved of the stress of financial worries when they may be facing a dire diagnosis.”
Sounds exactly like when a “Friend(ship)” is most needed.

Email Karen Coney Coplin at NaplesKCC@gmail.com with future article ideas or questions.

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