GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine, Inc. (TAPM) in Guilford County plans to reopen its recently-closed HealthServe clinic with a new name, new target patient audience and new federal funding.
TAPM announced Wednesday that it received notice on Sept. 13 that it had been designated as a Fully-Funded, Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and would receive a two-year grant--$758,333 for the first year and $640,000 in the second, with likelihood that it would be considered for continued federal funding after that.
TAPM CEO Brian Ellerby said the goal is to have the clinic open by Jan. 1, at the latest. He reiterated the former HealthServe clinic will not reopen as HealthServe. The new clinic would be in the former HealthServe building but would not serve nearly as many patients as the 20,000 affected by HealthServe's closing.
"The money is specifically to be used to ensure that community residents who reside in public housing or community residents who are homeless have access to primary care. So we will have to use that money to serve those populations, although any of our clinics-medical offices-can be used by any patient type. We will have to make sure that residents who fit those population groupings will have access to care," Ellerby said.
He explained he will be reaching out to leaders in the public housing community and homeless community-including Greensboro Urban Ministry-to figure out a process by which to begin working with the targeted patients. Ellerby said the federal grant will allow TAPM to serve a projected unduplicated number of 2,400 patients. He said the grant money will focus on the Hampton Homes community in Greensboro.
There currently is a rebranding proposal underway to name the clinic Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine-Family Medicine at Eugene. Ellerby said he will be meeting with TAPM senior managers this week to finalize plans and then will begin advertising to staff the clinic.
Former Guilford County Board of Commissioners chairman Skip Alston claimed in September that TAPM didn't make it clear how badly HealthServe needed county funding before the clinic was forced to close on Aug. 30.
Alston said when the commission stopped funding in 2011, TAPM had indicated it was going to be pursuing federal funding as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Ellerby responded to those claims Wednesday, saying that the commission's logic was misconstrued, because the need for HealthServe funding was a bigger and separate issue that could not be resolved by the federal funding that now has been allocated to the new clinic.
"We were very clear with Mr. Alston at the time-some three years ago-that federal funds could not be used to supplant local funds. We brought in medic experts that met with Mr. Alston...these funds cannot be used to subsidize current operating losses or gains. The county was given the pediatric program and the adult program a combined $3.3 million a year. $758,000 comes nowhere close to $3.3 million a year," Ellerby said.
Ellerby said along with this new federal funding, the Cone Health Foundation has awarded grant funds that will further expand services in Greensboro for both the homeless populations and low-income, uninsured patients.
With regard to the Affordable Care Act's projected impact on the number of uninsured patients in the Triad, Ellerby explained that people with incomes of between zero percent and 130 percent of the federal poverty level will not be covered through the Affordable Care Act.
Ellerby said it was the federal legislation's intent that states would expand their Medicaid services and coverage. Since North Carolina did not expand Medicaid, Ellerby said there will be a significant number of people who will not have health care coverage, and organizations like TAPM will have to generate local support, "if it is the vision of the community that everyone has health care."
WFMY News 2