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Patients in Need in Lee County Get More Access to High-Quality Medical Care

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Lee Health Announces Major Expansion of Family, Pediatric, Women’s Health and Behavioral Health Services through Lee Community Healthcare (LCH)

(Fort Myers, Fla. – Aug. 14, 2023) --- Lee Community Healthcare made life for Rebecca Norys and her family a little easier, offering access to high-quality healthcare for herself, her husband, her five children, one grandchild and 10 foster children she has supported throughout the years.

Norys found a physician who would advocate for her special needs children and go the extra mile to make sure they got the proper care they needed. In times of need, the extra support and advocacy makes all the difference in the healthcare journey, especially if patients are uninsured or underinsured.

“Between our special needs children, myself and a host of foster children with special healthcare needs, there’s not very many specialists we don’t know,” Norys said. “Dr. Piedade Silva from the Page Field Pediatric LCH office has been with us the entire time. I don’t know anyone who I recommended to her who hasn’t had a good experience. Affordable healthcare with a focus on excellent, high-quality patient care has been such a blessing.”

When Norys and her family became LCH patients, there were only a handful of medical offices. By the end of this year, there will be nearly 40.

Over the past two years, Lee Health has designated 19 of its outpatient medical clinics as community health center sites, which allows additional access to health care for uninsured and underinsured individuals under the Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike program (FQHC LAL). This brings the total number of locations within the health system to 33.

Created by Lee Health in 2013, Lee Community Healthcare is a community health center that provides primary medical care to the medically uninsured and economically distressed residents of Southwest Florida. The clinics use a sliding fee schedule based on household size and income that allows uninsured/underinsured individuals to receive high-quality medical care for a fraction of the price. 

Lee Community Healthcare currently has 14 primary care offices that include four family medicine locations, which are in Dunbar, North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, two women’s health offices located in East and South Fort Myers, six pediatric primary care offices located in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs and Port Charlotte, and one behavioral health office in Fort Myers.

“When you’re a Lee Health patient, you really do get a tremendous scope and range of care,” said Bob Johns, executive director of Lee Community Healthcare. “We’ve been building and growing the infrastructure of this program to give the entire Lee County community access to word-class care regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. We’ve proven that it works and it’s a real team effort. It doesn’t work unless patients and staff work together to realize the mutual benefits.”

In addition to the newly designated locations, Lee Community Healthcare will continue to expand throughout the year to meet the needs of the community.

By the end of 2023, Lee Community Healthcare plans to have 36 total service sites, including family, pediatric, women’s health, behavioral health, pediatric specialty, and adult specialty medical practices strategically located throughout Southwest Florida.

Data shows that in 2021, 26.2% of all Lee County adults, or 173,109 individuals, had no usual source of primary medical care and 76,072 people lacked any form of health insurance.

Patients of Lee Community Healthcare have access to a full spectrum of primary care, adult specialties, pediatric specialties, behavioral health/addiction medicine, diagnostic care, lab services, discounted prescribed medications, nutritional counseling, disease management and social services.

“One of the challenges facing the healthcare community is how do we encourage individuals lacking insurance and financial resources to establish a relationship with a primary care provider?” said Dr. Scott Nygaard, chief operating officer for Lee Health. “This growth in office locations has produced a 100-fold increase in access to care for Lee County’s uninsured and underinsured individuals.”

For patients like Norys, having access to affordable healthcare has had a positive impact on their wellbeing and that of their families.

Last year, the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) recognized Lee Community Healthcare as America’s largest federally qualified health center look-alike (FQHC-LAL) with 53,302 patients cared for in 2021. Look-alike health centers treat patients on a sliding fee scale based on their income.

Lee Community Healthcare also received five other prestigious awards, including the Gold Badge, which is the highest recognition for overall clinical quality in the top 10% of all FQHC LALs in the country.

You can learn more about Lee Community Healthcare and its locations at https://www.leehealth.org/our-services/lee-community-healthcare.

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