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Patients Are In Charge of Nassau Health Clinics

Patients Are In Charge of Nassau Health Clinics

Nassau's publicly funded healthcare clinics would soon be qualified for millions of dollars federal funding for improvement care for uninsured and poor; after Nassau's own patients were engaged in the new board of directors.

A real estate agent, four other regular patients of the clinics, a retired insurance broker, and a physical therapist along with 6 healthcare experts will jointly look after Nassau Health Care Corp.'s facilities in Hempstead, Freeport, New Cassel and Elmont. The board's initial meeting was held at Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow.

This patient-oriented board, affiliated by Nassau Health Care Corp. is the foremost need of the clinics for becoming first "federally qualified health centers" in the Long Island. According to the center officials, the idea is that such centers would be more reactive to the community requirements while they are operated by the community members.

If the federal officials approve, the designation would signify $2.5 million per year in the high Medicaid compensations, protection from malpractice claims, and a new inexpensive prescription medicine plan along with eligibility to be valid for billions of dollars in federal grants.

Gwen O'Shea, the CEO and president of Health and Welfare Council of Long Island and a non-patient associate of the newly formed board which is called as Long Island Federally Qualified Health Center Inc., said that many people who are in high stake and high need will ultimately have access to the proper complete healthcare.

This designation may put Nassau at center of federal efforts to support the healthcare safety network. In the stimulus bill, the Obama government included 2 billion USD for such centers; while the Congressional healthcare reform bills include billions of dollars for the clinics.

Arthur Gianelli, the CEO and president of Nassau Health Care Corp. said that this is where the healthcare reform is actually going.

Suffolk that also has a network of health clinics is working together with consultants to explore receiving federally qualified rank, as said by Dan Aug, a spokesperson at Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

Getting federal funding is however not assured. The entire process is very much competitive; since it has many applicants for very limited open slots, as noted by Elizabeth Swain, the CEO of Community Health Care Association of New York State; a well-known health clinic trade community. There are almost 1100 such centers throughout the nation and 70 in the NY.

According to John O'Connell, a senior consultant Nassau Health Care Corp., such clinics would not enter into the competition right now. Initially, these would be opting for a less rigorous way that may qualify the clinics for higher funding and the medicine plan, but not for the grant eligibility or malpractice protection.

The new board has to prove that it is self-governing of Nassau Health Care Corp. to get continual funding from the federal administrators, for the health clinics.

Ileana Duran, one of the board members as well as a patient at the New Cassel health center and a real-estate broker from Hicksville, said that this idea has already started working. Now the patients have to wait less to visit doctors.

Duran said that she is hopeful about making this like a regular doctor's room visit.

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