Family Health Centers will open a new clinic in the Russell neighborhood on Nov. 6 to replace a facility that KentuckyOne Health closed this summer because too few people were using it.
Bill Wagner, chief executive of the nonprofit group, told Insider that he believed the clinic would provide needed services in an underserved area.
“I know that residents of the area and some of the leaders in the area were concerned about the closing of the clinic and the elimination of that access point for primary care,” he said.
Residents in Louisville’s Shawnee and Russell neighborhoods now seek medical services either in FHC’s Portland clinic — or they delay treatment until their symptoms progress to the point that they end up in emergency rooms, Wagner said.
The new Family Health Center clinic, at 2500 West Market St., will be on the northern edge of the Russell neighborhood.
“We have some unmet demand among our current patients,” Wagner said.
FHC sees 40,000 individual patients annually in its seven centers in Jefferson County.
Wagner said FHC was preparing the new clinic, which includes transferring electronic medical records and hiring staff, including two nurse practitioners. The clinic will focus on adult patients, particularly on addressing chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and providing access to screenings for cervical and breast cancers.
The CEO also expressed his gratitude to KentuckyOne, which donated the building and equipment to Family Health Centers, allowing the organization to continue to provide primary health services in the area.
KentuckyOne told Insider via email that it had operated the clinic for many years, but that after the retirement of Dr. O’tayo Lalude, “We found that the Family Health Center has the best capability to carry on health care for the community.” In a news release, the health system said that it had decided to close the facility in part because patient volumes in the clinic had declined in the last few years. The clinic saw as few as five patients per day, the health system said.
Wagner also praised State Rep. Darryl T. Owens, D-43, who asked him soon after KentuckyOne announced the facility’s closing whether FHC could be involved in a solution to keep the clinic going.
Owens said in press release, “I applaud KentuckyOne Health and Family Health Centers for ensuring that seniors and families in West Louisville, many who have limited transportation options, will continue to have access to healthcare options close to home.”
Wagner said that he expected FHC would be able to operate the clinic on a break-even basis, primarily because the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, known informally as Obamacare, had increased the nonprofit’s share of patients with insurance.
The clinics accept all patients, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Last year, about 17 percent of the organization’s patients lacked health insurance, down from 51 percent before the ACA. More people with insurance means the clinics are more likely to get paid for the services they provide.
Initially, the new clinic will open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. FHC will monitor patient volume and adjust hours as needed.