How are different patient populations served in your community? What factors influence the patients’ access to care and how they receive care?
Schenectady is a culturally diverse city with low income neighborhoods and a wide range of ethnicities. It is largely made up of two communities: local residents and members of Union College, a private institution of 2,242 students. Within Schenectady there are different options to help serve everyone in the community. Often times patients are without health insurance or the ability to pay for health care and this stops them from proactively seeking out treatment they need. Hometown Health, which is located at 1044 State Street, was started by a local physician volunteering in his community to help these residents. The clinic serves patients on a sliding fee discount program: “Hometown Health Centers offers a sliding fee discount program for all eligible uninsured, underinsured, and/or low income patients based on household size and family size”. This ensures that no one in this community will be turned away based on their inability to pay for what they need. They also provide assistance with translation, either through a bilingual staff member, or a free phone service to lessen the language barrier. The literature they provide is accessible to patients in English or Spanish. The clinic is doing their best to try to get patients in the door so that they can be seen regularly and stay healthy before their symptoms escalate. One of the tools they use is their social media platform, where they are able to advertise their services in a way that might reach more residents. New Choices Recovery Center is another valued resource in the community. Their mission statement is as follows, “New Choices Recovery Center through its caring responsive staff, provides innovative and comprehensive addiction treatment services that enhance the quality of life for the individuals and the community we serve”. They offer substance use prevention services, gambling recovery, and residential and clinical services. They do their best not to turn residents away without ensuring their safety if they are relocated to a different location or are returning home. The Center is flexible regarding payment options and tries to accommodate all residents whether that be through a sliding fee payment plan or help applying for health insurance. They have a great impact on the community and provide tremendous support to residents in need.