“A lot has happened in the last year,” Rick Shaffer, executive director of Covered Bridge Healthcare, said as he reflected upon the federal-grant-funded Centreville agency’s first year in business.
“A lot has happened in the last year,” Rick Shaffer, executive director of Covered Bridge Healthcare, said as he reflected upon the federal-grant-funded Centreville agency’s first year in business. When they started, “we were lucky if we had five or six” patients a day; now, daily they see at least 12-15 people ranging from children to seniors, uninsured to insured. The staff comprises 13 people. Services include primary and preventative care, behavioral health, OB/GYN referral, lab/X-ray access, oral health referral, diabetes management, nutritional services and more. They have an outreach to the probation center – meeting there on a regular basis – and now oversee medical services at the St. Joseph County Jail. Dr. Bruce Hyde serves as medical director both at Covered Bridge Healthcare and at the jail, and Patty Kane is the nurse practitioner. Hyde said the clinic uses both medicine and a wellness approach – not only helping cure people’s immediate symptoms but also seeking to find the root of the problem and solve it. They are willing to look past protocols to do what is necessary for their patients in time of need. Women’s health is one of their prime centers of focus, making it more comfortable for women to come and seek out routine screenings for breast, pelvic and cervical health. A program of migrant healthcare outreach is in the works; staff have contacted companies such as Monsanto and Pioneer. Personnel are also working with Community Action to do preschool physicals for youngsters in the Great Start Readiness Program. And it is the only provider in the county to offer Vivitrol therapy. Stacy Linihan, director of clinical services, described Vivitrol as an injection for people in recovery from opioid or alcohol use. Many of their clients come recommended by St. Joseph County’s Adult Drug Treatment Court, although individuals can pursue the treatment themselves. Medicaid covers the $1,300 per shot; with private insurance, it is based on co-pays, but Covered Bridge staff can help people navigate the process. Linihan said they had about 20 people taking the medication and were hearing really good reviews. It helps individuals focus on other aspects of their lives – like getting a job and therapy – rather than where they will get their next drugs. Covered Bridge is also developing a new program through which a registered support nurse will visit and assess patients who face mobility challenges, then recommend whether homecare, hospice or other community resources would be the most appropriate follow-up. Currently, a full service pharmacy is under construction. “Bridge Healthcare Pharmacy” will be leasing space in the building, though it is not under the ownership auspices of Covered Bridge Healthcare. It will be a community pharmacy, not just for Covered Bridge Healthcare patients. Shaffer said the beauty of having an in-house pharmacy was that people could have their healthcare needs met and their scripts written and filled all under one roof. It is particularly convenient for Amish patients for whom travel requires either a driver or a horse and buggy, as well as for customers of nearby Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and residents of Centreville’s KeyStone Place homeless shelter. Covered Bridge Healthcare had previously been under the auspices of Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County, but that board dissolved it due to a low census. However, it was revived after significant work by Lynn Dobberteen, who met with the CEOs of the local hospitals and other talented community people. She facilitated the research to get the grant resulting in what exists today, Shaffer said. Covered Bridge Healthcare’s hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and noon – 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. For more information, call 467-3228 or visit coveredbridgehealth.org.
News Focus: Covered Bridge Healthcare grows significantly in first year – News – Sturgis Journal – Sturgis, MI