The number of visits dropped 14 percent from 2011 to 2012 and another 12 percent from 2012 to 2013, but officials say the dips were due to decreased nurse practitioner hours both years, the installation of an electronic medical record system in 2012 and the move to a new site in 2013.
"Last year, we had to reduce the patient schedule while repairs and remodeling were being done at our new location," said
Also hurting the clinic's numbers were the bursting of water pipes last winter, operating one nurse practitioner short for as long as nine months and converting from paper to electronic record keeping.
"The transition to electronic medical records was difficult," Caudill said. "Visits took longer as our staff learned a new system, and there was some duplication early on while we learned. Our schedule was reduced by about half in the beginning and then gradually increased as staff learned and adjusted."
The two consecutive years of reduced client visits reversed what had been a strong and steady climb in client volume -- from 1,566 annual visits in 2007 to 2,758 in 2011 -- a 76 percent increase.
The clinic offers women such services as annual exams, pap smears, breast exams, pelvic exams, and pregnancy testing and referral. It offers men and women testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and provides free condoms. The clinic's nurse practitioners also provide birth control supplies.
"We also do a lot of educating -- covering things like smoking, nutrition, birth control counseling and pregnancy counseling," Sturbaum said. "We make referrals to the (Volunteers in Medicine) clinic and community physicians and mental health practitioners for psychological counseling, mammograms and blood pressure."
This year, the
"We don't require donations from patients, but we do accept them," said
Caudill said the
"But the size of our grant from the council is not tied only to client volume," she said. "They look at the big picture, taking into consideration the challenges we face and whether we're following their protocols and what our client satisfaction surveys look like. Our funding from them has been pretty steady for several years."
The clinic is staffed by a clinic manager who makes
Sturbaum said the clinic primarily targets low-income, uninsured or under-insured people. The clinic serves men and women regardless of their income or residency, though most of the clients are girls or women, and last year, 90 percent of the clinic's patients were from
People with incomes less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level receive services free; people with incomes between 101 and 250 percent of the poverty level are charged according to a sliding fee scale based on their income; and people making more than 250 percent of the poverty level are supposed to pay the full cost of the services. Last year, 81 percent of the clinic's clients received services for free, 18 percent paid partial fees and a little more than 1 percent paid full fees.
Caudill cites a
People wishing to use the clinic should call 812-349-7343 to make an appointment. Walk-ins are only seen as the schedule and situation allows. The average office visit, from the time the client walks in the door until they leave, is about an hour.
The clinic's new home in the
"Having all the health department's services in one building gives us greater efficiency," Sturbaum said. "It also gives our clients way more confidentiality."
LOCATION: Lower level of
(c)2014 the Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.)
Visit the Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.) at www.heraldtimesonline.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services