In 1972, Dr. Delbert Blickenstaff M.D., Jan Johns R.N. and Jean Louise-Thyme noticed the influx of migrant workers from the specialized farmers in the area, and realized that the workers had no access to healthcare. At that point in time, they were inspired to start providing free healthcare to these migrant workers. They started giving healthcare out of the back of Jan’s station wagon, with these three providing all of the funding to start this adventure.
The next year Family Health Inc. was born a non-profit Community Health Center, with $85,000 grant, to provide and hired their first employee Jenny Barnes, who is retiring this upcoming spring. At the same time, it was also recognized that there was Darke County residents that who could afford healthcare. Over the years they moved into several different locations and eventually building their own campus location. Family Health also became a Federally Qualified Community Healthcare Center in 1973, which allowed patients to pay little or no office visit cost, today this is known as a sliding scale fee. This is tied to the patient’s income, which says the poorer the patient the more subsidized the fee they can collect for the patient.
From 1972 to today, Family Health has experienced four executive directors, four different locations and slowly adding on square footage, but staying within the city limits of Greenville, OH, with their current facility is at 44,000 sq ft. Besides their main campus they have two additional locations, and own a for-profit in home healthcare company called Comprehensive Healthcare Network. Together their annual revenue in 2012 was $12,858,644 from patient services, adult home care services and an onsite pharmacy. Family Health has 188 employees and 29 providers, with 41 employees from Comprehensive Healthcare Network. Family Health in 2012 had experienced 113,299 visits from 24,781 patients being seen Family Health physicians.
Within the organizational structure of Family Health they have four divisions: medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy. Of course, medical was the first to arrive, as noted early in this paper.
One of the Executive Director’s, Jay Montgomery, was a visionary on how to make the services come together which brought forth the behavioral health division. Jay’s thought process was, if a patient was depressed and needed mental health assistance, why send them to someone else when we could handle the case with in Family Health. This would ensure that their patients would not leave and go to another provider.
The last program that was added is the dental program. Once again, Jay felt that medical and dental went hand in hand. If the patient wasn’t feeling good the day of your visit, it could be from an oral health issue or vice versa.
The last area of importance is the pharmacy department, which is 304B pharmacy program and has been noted nation-wide. Janelle Claudy has been leading this department up for many years. The concept, once again, was an opportunity to keep their patients within their system. It wasn’t setup as a way to control the patient behavior it was just a way to provide full-service capabilities to the area.
During my research on Family Health, I found out how unique the FQCHC facility is within our region. Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be involved with another CHC in Columbus, by the way of my job at Midmark Corporation, called Lower Lights CHC in the Bottoms area of the Columbus. As I work with LLCHC, they mentioned that they were trying mirror the programs of Family Health. In speaking with Dr. Dana, they want to eventually become FQCHC like Family Health. She noted that having a federal grant to elevate strain on cash flow would be such a relief.
As I mentioned earlier, Family Health was started by several people wanting to make a difference in the area back in 1972. The same sediment is still there today by the way of their mission statement “Building Healthier Lives Together,” and the passion is still there today from the front office staff to the janitorial staff.