Regina M. Mitchell, MHA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Horizon Family Health Services, Inc.

    by Regina M. Mitchell, MHA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Horizon Family Health Services, Inc.

    Next week, New Horizon Family Health Services (NHFHS) will celebrate National Health Center Week (NHCW) to celebrate how Community Health Centers (CHCs) are lighting the way for healthier communities today and in the future.

    City of Greenville Mayor Knox White, City of Greer Mayor Rick Danner, and City of Travelers Rest Mayor Brandy Amidon have proclaimed the week as National Health Center Week in their communities to recognize the work we do. We’ll also be holding virtual events throughout the week to highlight our services and programs and recognizing healthcare heroes on our team who shine a light in our communities. Visit our website for a list of NHCW activities.

    CHCs, like NHFHS, have provided comprehensive primary and preventative healthcare to vulnerable populations for more than 50 years. Nationally, CHCs produce $26 billion in annual health system savings, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and visits to the ER, and serve one in five Medicaid beneficiaries at a 24% lower cost compared to other providers.

    NHFHS was established in 1992 with a small team of health professionals providing services to about 2,500 patients. Today, we employ a staff of 250 and more than 28,000 individuals rely on our organization for healthcare access each year regardless of their insurance status. We operate medical offices in Greenville, Greer, and Travelers Rest; a dental office in Greenville; two mobile medical units; and a mobile dental unit. Over 40% of our patients are uninsured. Many struggle with social, economic, or environmental factors that create barriers to healthcare access.

    NHFHS’ Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Program provides over 5,000 primary medical, dental, and behavioral health visits annually for individuals experiencing homelessness in 13 Upstate counties. Patients can receive services from HCH’s 35-foot mobile medical unit or at any NHFHS office. In 2019, NHFHS partnered with Miracle Hill Ministries to launch the first in-shelter Medical Respite Care Program in the state to provide individuals experiencing homelessness a safe place to recover after hospital discharge.

    NHFHS’ Ryan White Program provides services including primary and HIV specialty medical care, medical case management, prescription assistance, and behavioral health counseling to over 1,200 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in 10 Upstate counties each year.

    Our organization may have grown, but our mission remains the same—to provide quality, affordable, compassionate, patient-centered healthcare to improve the health of the communities we serve.

    Using a community-oriented integrated care model, patients can access primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health services; manage chronic conditions; and purchase prescription medications at lower costs—all in one location. Our Care Management Team of community health workers assists patients in overcoming non-medical issues adversely affecting their health such as lack of health insurance, transportation challenges, inadequate housing, and food insecurity. By offering a more cost-effective way to provide care to our community, NHFHS produces an estimated $29 million in annual savings to our local healthcare delivery system.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, our role is even more critical to the health of our communities as newly unemployed and uninsured persons turn to CHCs to access affordable, quality care. To continue responding to the needs of our communities, we must assure that health centers have the financial resources to sustain our efforts. You can support the work we do by signing up as a Health Center Advocate. Together, we can light the way for healthier communities.