|By Joey Holleman, The State (Columbia, S.C.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers announced the start of their
They will form three teams that will provide in-home services and health care coaching to people who are eligible for
Local health leaders came together last year in the Healthy Columbia Campaign and targeted the 29203 area as a fertile ground for new programs that can both improve residents' health and cut costs. Nearly 40,000 people in the ZIP code are uninsured, which means they often don't seek help until problems are severe. All too often, they end up in hospital emergency rooms, which is an inefficient and expensive use of those limited resources.
During community public input meetings, residents suggested placing nurses or nurse practitioners in parks or community centers to help residents deal with chronic problems such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. They also suggested health care guides that visit homes.
Before those meetings were finished, the cooperative health centers already were working on the
"To be lasting, this needs to be sustainable from Day 1," said
It's not there yet, but organizers believe it will be, certainly before the three-year grant runs out. Hamilton said two other major players in the field,
The long-range goal is for government insurers and health care organizations to pay for the program through savings generated. For instance, a recent report noted one person in the 29203 ZIP code visited local emergency rooms 36 times in a year. A nurse visiting that person's home to treat what's obviously a chronic problem would save the health care system tens of thousands of dollars.