Still ‘plenty to do’ for nonprofit health care

Published 9:33 pm Thursday, June 28, 2012

Local nonprofit organizations focused on health care likely will not be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, representatives of the organizations say.

“We believe there will always be people who are going to need the health care safety net,” said Miriam Beiler, executive director of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.

The clinic provides medical and dental services, as well as prescription medications, to people ages 19 to 64 with no medical insurance who live at or below twice the federal poverty level.

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Beiler said there still will be people who could slip through the cracks of the health care system. She also added there is uncertainty about whether the act will be repealed in the future.

“Our model of care, we think, will continue to be an important part of whatever health care program comes along,” she said. “We think free clinics provide very cost-efficient delivery of care.”

In addition, the Obici Healthcare Foundation’s mission will continue, said board vice chairman Samuel Glasscock.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect the operations of the foundation at all,” he said.

The foundation awards grants two times a year to organizations working to improve the health of area residents. In recent years, the grants have focused on programs aiming to manage chronic diseases, prevent obesity, improve access to basic health care and insure more people.

In particular, the needs for programs to help manage chronic diseases and prevent obesity will continue, Glasscock said.

“The Supreme Court decision makes it possible to get health care delivered to more people, but there are still a lot of people who won’t get medical care even under that program,” he said. “The effort to reduce obesity, that’s still something the foundation is going to be called to speak to. There’s still going to be plenty for the foundation to do.”