By: Tammy Lemke, Former President/CEO United Way of Champaign County, 2002-2007
I remember like it was yesterday reviewing the Champaign County Community
Needs Assessment and thinking that there must be a solution to meeting our
community’s most pressing need, Access to Health Care. I remember drafting a white paper for the
United Way Board outlining the needs and how, we, as the United Way, could make
a difference in this area. I remember
the Board saying, “We agree – now what is our next step?”
Of course, the next step was to meet with our community’s health care
providers on how to move the needle in providing access to health care,
specifically primary care. We started
with a conversation with Andrea Goldberg of Frances Nelson Health Center to see
how we could help in supporting their mission.
Her answer seemed so easy – increase the capacity of FNHC to provide
services by relocating and expanding the clinic.
The next step was to reach out to those in the field, Carle Clinic,
Christie Clinic, Carle Foundation Hospital and Provena Covenant Medical
Center. All agreed on the need and on a
possible solution. In fact, under the
leadership of Cathy Emanuel at Carle Hospital, a strategic thought process was
in development that included assisting FNHC in expanding.
Everyone had a similar solution.
Relocate and expand FNHC. Easy right? As we know, mobilizing the money to expand
and relocate a primary care clinic is not easy. United Way agreed to take a key role in the
project. After months of working through strategies and mobilizing resources
with the leadership at Frances Nelson, Carle, Christie and the Community, the
current space on Bloomington Road was identified. Carle Foundation Hospital provided the
leadership in securing the facility and Walt Manske was appointed as the construction
manager. Walt was the driving force in
ensuring the clinic met the needs of our community now and in the future.
During the construction phase, the project leadership continued to
mobilize resources to furnish the facility and to ensure operational dollars
were available to meet the increased staffing costs of an expanded clinic. There were many early morning meetings at
Panera between Andrea Goldberg and me on whether or not this vison would be a
realty! Andrea was key to ensuring the
clinic was operationally ready to go and the glue that held her staff together.
The new clinic was dedicated in November 2006 with all key stakeholders
and leaders in attendance.
When community stakeholders come together, great things can
happen. I am so proud to see this
wonderful community asset flourishing under the leadership of Promise
Promise Healthcare is dedicated to improving the health of the community through treatment, prevention, and education. We seek to be the premier healthcare provider for all regardless of ability to pay by exceeding patient expectations and improving the health of our community.
We deliver primary medical, behavioral health, and dental services to the underserved. Promise Healthcare provides over 44,000 patient visits and cares for over 12,000 patients annually through Frances Nelson, our SmileHealthy dental programs, satellites on Walnut at Rosecrance, the OSF Healthcare Heart of Mary Community Resource Center, the Urbana School Based Health Center and our mobile clinics. www.promisehealth.org