The New Provider: Family HealthCare

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Nonprofit Fargo Clinic Serves MSUM Students in Place of Hendrix

BY KATIE BETZ betzka@mnstate.edu

Upon Hendrix Clinic making the switch to a counseling-services-only provider, Family HealthCare of Fargo will be providing primary care services in place of Hendrix Clinic’s medical services. Family HealthCare will also be taking over as the home clinic for international students.

Lori Kinn, patient development manager with Family HealthCare, described the services they offer at their downtown location. Her role in the partnership between MSUM and Family HealthCare is to work with the new Case Manager/Navigator Jamie Skrove, giving her all the information about their organization and helping her “correctly send students” to their facility.

Services provided by Family HealthCare include the following:

  • Optometry
  • Medical services
  • Dental services
  • In-house X-ray
  • In-house pharmacy
  • In-house lab

Julie Sorby, community development director with Family HealthCare, explained that they are designated a Patient Center and Medical Home, meaning that all of the services are offered under one roof at the downtown Fargo location.

There are 17 medical providers with a variety of certifications, ranging from MDs to physician’s assistants, available to care for patients at Family HealthCare.

“We also have enrollment services, so for any student who doesn’t have insurance we can help look at their insurance options. That’s at no cost to the student,” Kinn said.

A discount program called the Sliding Fee Scale is also available for both students who have insurance and those who don’t, depending on income and household size.

“The student would come in, and if they have insurance, we would run everything through their insurance,” Kinn said. “What their insurance doesn’t cover we would look to discount it with our Sliding Fee Scale. If the insurance company says that the student should owe $100, and they were on the Sliding Fee Scale, we would then discount it down between $25-$40. It would really save them some money.”

This discount program is one of the things which sets them apart from other medical providers. They also are smaller than other facilities. This difference allows for students to see the same group of doctors and nurses each time they visit, Kinn explained.

Though the clinic is relatively small, they serve a diverse population. Sorby said they employ a team of 12 interpreters who interpret 12 different languages.

Family HealthCare providers visited MSUM early in the school year and met with new international students to get them registered in the program.

“I presented to them about our discount program, the Sliding Fee Scale. We went through what they needed to do to be on it, and we got that paperwork done,” Kinn said. “Then they saw the nurse to do the initial vital signs and assessment, and then they saw the provider.”

Students visiting Family HealthCare for the first time will go through several steps to get into the system, Kinn explained.

  • 1. The student calls and sets up an appointment. The person taking the call will get information including name, address, date of birth and Social Security number if applicable.
  • 2. The student walks into the clinic and gets registered. The student fills out several forms, including one with insurance information, demographics and consent for the doctor to see them.

If the student doesn’t have insurance, they will be told about the Sliding Fee Scale program. If they want to pursue the program, they will have a free consultation with a staff member to learn about their options for insurance. Kinn said that it is completely up to the student if they want the insurance or not.

Transportation may be an issue for students who do not have a car and need to travel to Family HealthCare for treatment. To address this issue, MSUM is offering students free transportation through Doyle Cab to and from medical providers. Kinn said she didn’t know any details about the cab service with Doyle Cab, but she encouraged students to ride the bus.

Sorby explained that Family HealthCare is a federally qualified community health center, which means that 17% of their funding is from federal sources, while the rest comes from patient pay and donations.

“We don’t say no to anybody. If they don’t have insurance and they can’t pay, we’re still going to see them,” Sorby said. “Hopefully (we will) set them up on a payment plan based on what they can afford.”

She also explained that people don’t need to have a low income or lack health insurance to visit Family HealthCare.

“I always say we serve everyone from homeless to CEOs, and everyone in between,” Kinn said.

Family Health Care served 17,000 unique patients last year. Sorby explained that the organization has been in the community since 1990 and became a nonprofit in 1993. They have been at their current downtown location since 2012. Family HealthCare is located at 301 NP Ave. Fargo, North Dakota.

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