SPRING HILL — The foundation that enabled the creation of Crescent Community Clinic with an award of $100,000 in 2010 has stepped up again with a grant of $27,000 to expand programs for uninsured adult patients in Hernando County.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation made the money available for computers and programming to convert the medical records system from paper to electronic. Doctors will be able to access records immediately and order prescriptions at any time, even when not on duty at the clinic, said Barbara Sweinberg, the clinic's director of volunteer services and grant writer.
The grant will also pay for glucometers and test strips for diabetes patients.
"We want to be sure they have the testing strips. Those are so expensive," Sweinberg noted.
Another portion of the grant money will be used for mammograms and MRIs performed at off-site medical facilities.
Physicians at the clinic, at 5244 Commercial Way in the Winchester Plaza, start working with patients at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and continue until everyone has been seen. That could be anytime from 2 to 5 p.m., Sweinberg said.
The office is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, except Thursdays. The recent decision to close on Thursdays was made because "we were wearing out our volunteers," she said.
All services are performed by volunteers, including physicians, dentists and mental health psychiatrists. No sleep or narcotic medications are prescribed.
Dental patients are seen on Mondays and sometimes Fridays, depending on the availability of dentists. "We desperately need more dentists," Sweinberg said. "The need is so great for dental.
"And we always need volunteers to staff the office."
The next goal is to reach more of the homeless.
"I haven't figured that out yet," Sweinberg conceded. "I know where all the camps are located. We have about nine homeless we're already seeing. I know there are more. Now that THE Bus is extending services, we'll be getting a lot more business."
The staff is also hoping to enlist transportation help from churches that have vans.
From July through December, the most recent numbers tallied, the clinic provided 962 patient services with a value of $1.5 million, Sweinberg reported.
"We're adding six to eight new patients every week," she said. "I know it's growing."
Information about volunteering and patient appointments is available by calling (352) 799-5500 or (352) 610-9927.
Beth Gray can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.