Non-English speaking patients and uninsured and underinsured patients can create obstacles for health care providers.
For Midtown Health Center, those obstacles have created opportunities that have led to phenomenal growth.
On Tuesday, the center shared its success story with community leaders and the media during a breakfast and tours to note successes that have been achieved since it began 20 years ago.
Midtown Health Center has three locations, one on main street in Madison and two in Norfolk. It has 88 employees.
As an example of the growth, in 2008 it served 950 people with 2,500 encounters. Last year, it served 6,300 people with 20,000 encounters. Already this year, the number of people served is up 10 percent over last year.
Midtown provides health, mental and dental care to members of the community who are medically underserved, including some who have low incomes.
Much of the funding to operate comes from federal grants.
Not only does it offer these services, but Midtown Health Center has been recognized for high-quality care. For the past five years, it has been ranked in the top 10 percent for its overall clinical performance among its peers.
Kathy Nordby, Midtown Health Center chief executive officer, said the center always has been reporting on 18 indicators. Those indicators are seen as the most cost-effective ways to save lives.
The indicators covers a range of factors, such as how soon expectant mothers come in for prenatal care, the weight of the babies, control of diabetes and blood pressure. Much of the care is preventive-based.
Nordby said she feels fortunate because Midtown has quality staff members who always “want to be the best at everything they do.”
With high poverty rates and non-English speaking populations in Norfolk, especially for Nebraska, so far this year, patients who speak seven languages have been served in Norfolk and Madison by Midtown. In Madison, Tyson has assisted in providing interpreters and supporters.
So does this mean before Midtown, a lot of people previously had been falling through the cracks?
“What I believe is this community has always had this population here. If you are not part of it, you’re not necessarily aware it even exists. I’m not surprised by the numbers we have reached,” Nordby said. “We have not reached a saturation point. We are doing everything we can with everything we have been given.”
In Madison, Midtown Health Center is the sole provider of dental care. It also offers its services by going out to other communities, such as Wakefield and O’Neill.