Lakewood’s North Coast Health receives $20,000 grant toward chronic conditions initiative

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — North Coast Health — which provides healthcare to the low-income uninsured and under-insured, as well as to people covered by Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance programs — was recently awarded $20,000 from the CVS Health Foundation and National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC).

“This is very significant,” North Coast Health President and CEO Gina Gavlak said. “As a faith-based, charitable clinic, we rely on support from individual donors, as well as foundations, to help us continue services that we provide free of charge based on patient income level.

“We’re providing people who just either don’t have insurance or have really high deductible that they can’t afford access to primary care they need,” she said.

The grant money is earmarked to enhance and expand North Coast Health services that educate patients who have chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease on self-management practices to better address overall health needs.

North Coast Health last year served more than 1,600 unduplicated patients and provided roughly 4,000 provider visits. Gavlak said diabetes and hypertension, which are contributors to heart disease, are national issues commonly seen at the Detroit Avenue clinic.

“When people with a chronic condition have access to not only doctor’s appointments, but also education, medications and education services on how to manage those conditions, you’re able to get people more engaged in their healthcare,” Gavlak said.

“It also helps keep people out of the emergency room and out of the hospital. That’s a huge cost saver for the patient, as well as the hospital system and taxpayers,” she said.

Other Ohio entities receiving CVS Health Foundation and NAFC grants toward their health initiatives include the Lorain County Free Clinic, Xenia’s Living Well Clinic and Painesville’s Lake County Free Clinic.

“The rising cost of healthcare can make finding quality and affordable care harder to come by for many Americans,” CVS Health Foundation President Eileen Howard Boone said in a press release.

“Through our support of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, we’re able to increase access to quality care, improve chronic disease management and care coordination to help improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable patients and reduce healthcare costs in the communities we serve.”