The Good News Clinics in Gainesville, a local nonprofit providing free medical and dental care to low-income individuals without insurance, just received a $70,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente of Georgia to support the clinic’s heart failure and cardiovascular program.
“We’ve been very lucky to have been a beneficiary for seven years,” said Liz Coates, development and engagement director at Good News Clinics.
The Kaiser grant is one of several from various organizations that comprise about 15-20 percent of the clinic’s $1.5 million budget.
Good News’ heart failure and cardiovascular clinic costs about $175,000 annually to operate and is estimated to save the community $1.3 million each year through reduced hospital readmissions, Coates said.
“By becoming the primary medical home for low-income, uninsured Hall residents, we meet the mission of the Kaiser Community Benefits Plan,” she added.
That plan states, “Through the grants program, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia makes contributions to eligible nonprofit and government organizations to improve access to health care, inform health policy, and implement programs that promote and improve health. From safety-net clinics to initiatives that positively impact patients’ mental health, we support health-improving projects that align with our funding priorities and improve the health of vulnerable communities.”
The $70,000 grant will be awarded as a lump sum and requires semi-annual reporting to show that Good News Clinics has met the goals outlined by Kaiser.
The grant funding will specifically help increase access to screening for at-risk individuals in the clinic; support comprehensive education on risk factors to approximately 600 patients; help cover expenses for laboratory testing, medication and equipment to give patients, such as blood glucose meters and testing strips, medication cards and pill organizers.
The nonprofit’s clinic for patients managing heart failure symptoms, such as chest pains, heart attacks, trouble breathing and hypertension, has served hundreds of Northeast Georgia residents over the last 12 years.
Good News Clinics provides care until patients qualify or age into Medicaid or Medicare.
“Basically, we’re helping roughly 600 patients who have high-risk factors for cardiovascular conditions,” Coates said. “Roughly 150 of them have congestive heart failure. When we are successful, that creates positive ripples throughout the community. (Kaiser) is a huge partner in our ability to assist the vulnerable with cardiovascular conditions.”