(Posted October 7, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Rocking Horse Community Health Center, 212 N. Main St., London, will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 28.
Open since Sept. 3, the center picked up where the Madison County Health Partners Free Clinic left off. While the free clinic was restricted to serving people without health care insurance, Rocking Horse is a federally qualified health center and, as such, serves people with or without insurance.
“Rocking Horse allows Madison County to have longer arms to reach into the community and serve not just the uninsured, but also the underinsured and the under served,” said Chris Cook, CEO.
In part, this allows for continuity of care for former free clinic patients, many of whom, due to healthcare reform, now have insurance. Rocking Horse can continue to see those patients.
“It’s about meeting needs, and the needs have changed,” said Melissa Canney, who served as executive director of the free clinic and now serves as director of operations for Rocking Horse.
In its first month of operation, the London center has seen several former free clinic patients, as well as new patients, said Chelsea Harris, the center’s full-time family nurse practitioner. Cook estimates that the center, which is equipped with five exam rooms, can handle about 5,000 patient visits per year. Expansion is a possibility down the road, he said.
The center’s services include primary healthcare for adults of all ages, pediatric care, women’s health care, prenatal care, lab testing, sick visits, medication assistance, information and referral to community resources and social service programs, and Medicaid and Marketplace Insurance application assistance.
Harris added that preventative care is offered, as well, in the form of immunizations and baseline blood work.
“It’s an opportunity to make sure little things aren’t falling through the cracks,” she said.
By the end of this month, the center’s staff will include a full-time family physician, in addition to the nurse practitioner. After that, the next step will be to hire a behavioral health counselor, said Dr. Yamini Teegala, Rocking Horse’s chief medical officer. The counselor will specialize in mental health care and, possibly, treatment for substance abuse and addiction.
Teegala is meeting with representatives of Madison Health and the Madison County-London City Health District to discuss how Rocking Horse can be part of a cooperative countywide effort to provide efficient and comprehensive health care.
The Rocking Horse organization opened its doors in 1999 in Springfield with a goal of providing comprehensive health care to children, regardless of their insurance status. Ten years later, the center became a federally qualified health center and expanded its services to people of all ages. The London location is the organization’s newest endeavor. Center users make up over half of Rocking Horse’s board of directors, and London is now represented on the board.
Rocking Horse recently won an Immunization Excellence Award from the Ohio Department of Health for achieving over 80 percent completion of teen vaccines and earned quality performance awards, based on federal standards, in 2013 and 2014.
The Rocking Horse Community Health Center in London is open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. The center is located in the brick building behind Madison Health in the former home of the free clinic. For more information or an appointment, call (740) 845-7286.