Dispelling Myths Associated with Community Health Centers
|Providing health care that is affordable, of high quality and cost effective for medically vulnerable people defines the purpose of the six federally-qualified health care centers operated by the Lake County Health Department. The centers serve more than 40,000 people annually. Yet, many times there are incorrect perceptions about how the health centers operate.|
National Health Center Week, Aug. 5-11, provides an opportunity to not only remind the public where health centers are located in Lake County, but also to clarify some of the most frequent misunderstandings patients have about the health centers.
Myth: The health centers are free clinics.
Fact: Patients are asked to pay for services at the time they are seen. The health centers welcome patients who have health insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare, or patients who have no health insurance. Uninsured patients can apply for reduced fees for services based on their income. We also accept third party insurance but we are not an in-network HMO provider.
Myth: The physicians who work in the health centers are not real doctors.
Fact: All physicians are fully licensed and credentialed - the same as in the private sector. They have just chosen to work in a community health center.
Myth: I cannot be seen the same day for services at the health center.
Fact: All health center locations take walk-ins. If you are ill, you can speak to a triage nurse to see if you can be seen the same day.
Myth: Free medications are available at the health centers.
Fact: The health centers do not have an on-site pharmacy. Patients must first see a physician and a physician will determine if a prescription is needed. Patients can be provided assistance to enroll in pharmaceutical company drug assistance programs.
Myth: The TB clinic is located in the health centers.
Fact: It is located in a separate facility at 515 Keller Avenue in Waukegan.
Myth: The health center provides emergency care.
Fact: The community health centers provide comprehensive primary care. However, if you have a medical emergency, you should go to an emergency room at a hospital.
There are more than 8,000 community health centers serving 20 million people in the United State who do not have access to basic healthcare. The federally-qualified health centers in Lake County focus on treating the whole patient, which includes medical, dental and mental health. The system in Lake County is one of six in Illinois affiliated with county health departments. The other Illinois health centers connected with health departments are in Cass, Knox, Macoupin, Whiteside and Will counties.
The Lake County Health Department's centers are as follows:
Belvidere Medical Building
2400 Belvidere Road
Waukegan, IL 60085
Midlakes Medical and Dental Building
224 Clarendon Avenue
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
North Chicago Health Center
2215 14th Street
North Chicago, IL 60064
1819 27th Street
Zion, IL 60099
North Shore Health Center
1840 Green Bay Road
Highland Park, IL
Grand Avenue Health Center
3010 Grand Avenue
Waukegan, IL 60085
For more information, visit: http://www.lakecountyil.gov/Health/Pages/PCS.aspx.
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