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Agency works to get the word out



Published: Mon, February 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

LISBON -- It may look like any other doctor's office, with its comfortable waiting room and busy staff.

But the Lisbon Community Health Center is different -- it's services include providing medical care at reduced rates to the uninsured.

The center, at 7880 Lincole Place, is one of three health-care facilities operated by the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County, a private, nonprofit agency.

Also operates: Besides the Lisbon health center, the agency also operates the East Liverpool Community Health Center, 1561 Pennsylvania Ave., and the Community Dental Care Center, 38722 Saltwell Road, Lisbon.

In 2001, the three facilities treated a total of 7,440 people.

But those numbers could go up if more people knew about them, said Tila Miller, nurse-manager at the Lisbon health center.

"I'm amazed at the number of people who have never heard of us," Miller added. "There are so many who could benefit, but they don't know we're here."

Publicity efforts: The centers have undertaken publicity efforts to advertise their presence, including radio spots. But it appears the word isn't getting out to those who need it most, the uninsured.

Officials are trying to come up with a publicity strategy that will accomplish that goal, Miller said.

All three facilities operate with the same mission of providing care to those without insurance.

"When you don't have insurance, going to the doctor is expensive," Miller said.

Consequently, people put off going, sometimes placing themselves at risk.

Handling payments: The uninsured pay based on their income, with the lowest fee for a visit being $10.

The more a person makes, the larger a percentage of the bill they pay.

Although all three centers aid the uninsured, patients on Medicaid, Medicare and even those with conventional health insurance also are treated.

The three centers, with a combined annual operating budget of about $2.8 million, are funded through federal and state grants, as well as patient fees and Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.

The numbers of the facilities are: Lisbon health center, (330) 424-5686; East Liverpool health center, (330) 386-7777; dental center, (330) 424-4192.




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