By Sandi Latimer
LifeCare Alliance, one of the largest not-for-profit organizations in central Ohio, has entered into a partnership with the Central Ohio Diabetes Association.
The partnership, announced at a news conference Jan. 27, is designed to expand services to more clients, to ensure that clients have increased access to healthcare, and to continue the comprehensive health care services currently provided.
LifeCare Alliance president and CEO Chuck Gehring said the partnership came together after several years of negotiations.
Gehring and Tim Cotter, president of the CODA board, assured the employees they would keep their jobs.
“We have not laid off anyone and we don’t deny services to anyone,” Gehring said.
Cotter said CODA would not turn anyone away because they can’t pay.
The Central Ohio Diabetes Association, located at 1000 Dennison Ave., was founded 52 years ago by a group of local physicians. It is not affiliated with the American Diabetes Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. All of CODA‘s funding comes from the local community and stays within the community.
Cotter showed off a test kitchen that was built to help diabetes clients learn about nutrition and how to improve their meals.
CODA provides blood glucose screenings to identify undetected and uncontrolled diabetes; diabetes medical and nutrition education for both public and corporate clients; camp and youth programs; community outreach programs to high-risk populations; and financial resource information and emotional support programs.
LifeCare Alliance, founded in 1898, is perhaps best known for its Meals on Wheels program that serves an estimated one million home-delivered meals a year to older adults in Franklin, Madison, Marion, Logan and Champaign counties, as well as operating dining centers and food pantries.
“This partnership will be a smooth transition,” said Gehring. “There will be no interruption in services. All programs will remain the same, and day-to-day operations will continue.”
Also lauding the partnership was Laura Moskow Sigal, interim executive director of CODA.
“Five members of the CODA board will transition to the LifeCare Alliance board,” she said.
“This (partnership) will provide additional and enhanced services for clients for both agencies,” Gehring said.
One way this will work is with diabetes education for the many Meals on Wheels clients who have that disease, Gehring said.
He also noted this partnership “is not our first rodeo.” LifeCare Alliance partnered with the Columbus Cancer Clinic a dozen years ago and later with IMPACT Safety. LifeCare Alliance works with Project OpenHand and has created food pantries for those clients and clients of the Columbus Cancer Clinic.
“Central Ohio is getting bigger and we want to let people know we’re still here,” Gehring said of the partnership. “It is our goal to serve more clients at less cost.”
The president and CEO of the Columbus Foundation, Doug Kridler, had praise for the new partnership.
“It’s a great day for Columbus,” he said. “We’re shaping Columbus for the world and Columbus is shaping right before our eyes. We’ve found ways to strengthen paths to shape our community.”