Equal access to the most basic medical services is still only a dream for many who cannot afford, and whose employers do not provide, health insurance. With changing economic times in the Ohio Valley, the number of people who are faced with layoffs, minimum wage jobs, and decreasing benefits, find themselves without proper health care coverage.
It is for such persons that Wheeling Health Right was founded. With a belief in the dignity of every human being and their right to medical treatment, Health Right opened its doors in 1985 to address this critically unmet need. The agency serves people of all ages who meet current federal poverty guidelines, and do not qualify for assistance through Medicaid, Veterans Administration, or an existing health insurance plan.
Wheeling Health Right provides quality medical and nursing care to our patients, as well as the medications necessary to treat their illness. Beyond these vital services, Wheeling Health Right also offers education to its patients regarding disease prevention and management, and provides behavior modification training to promote wellness. In addition, comprehensive social services are available on site through a licensed therapist.
As the health care provider of last resort, Wheeling Health Right has been successful in developing a fine corps of dedicated volunteers including physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and clerical workers. They are of critical importance in helping the agency fulfill its charitable mission of service to the uninsured and under-insured.
Not only does this program contribute significantly to the health and well being of the community we serve, but the program is cost effective. During Fiscal Year 2013/2014, Wheeling Health Right was able to provide all health services for a total cost of only $90.00 per patient/year and a pharmaceutical cost of $136.00 average per year. This low operational cost is possible due in large part to donated goods and services. In a very real way, Wheeling Health Right is helping to contain the area’s health care costs by being the principal coordinator and provider of indigent primary health care services. Also, Wheeling Health Right succeeds in doing this in an environment which affords dignity and compassion to each patient.
Wheeling Health Right is the only free clinic in the Ohio Valley area. Indeed, when it comes to providing health care services and medicines for free, the agency does have “a corner on the market.” Fortunately, Wheeling Health Right has the cooperation of area hospitals, physicians, and specialists who have chosen Wheeling Health Right as the vehicle for charity health care in the community. Our challenge at Wheeling Health Right is to ensure the financial integrity of the clinic so their efforts are not in vain and the public interest may be served.
As of August 4, 2011, Wheeling Health Right was certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) at the highest level – 3. The NCQA is dedicated to improving health care quality. Patients are seen and treated not only at the agency, but also at area hospitals upon referral. Wheeling Health Right’s referral entitles them to free hospital-based services. Medical and osteopathic residents come to the clinic to practice and gain valuable community health experience. Nursing students from several colleges rotate through the clinic as part of their curriculum. Not only do physicians come to the agency to volunteer, but many specialists see Wheeling Health Right patients in their offices at no charge upon referral. Patients who have a chronic illness are seen by the same physician for the duration of their illness.
In the spring of 2014, Wheeling Health Right became a Medicaid Provider. Due to the New Medicaid Expansion, many patients were not able to find providers, and thus, returned to Health Right. Previous Health Right patients wanted to stay with Health Right for quality and continuity of care.
Because transportation is often a barrier to access to quality medical care, Wheeling Health Right is establishing two satellite clinics. Services will soon be provided to Wetzel and Tyler County patients at our New Martinsville office at Catholic Charities in New Martinsville, WV. Patients in Belmont County, Ohio, will soon be seen at our Bellaire St. John’s Academy location. Many patients who cannot travel to the main office will soon be receiving care.
Finally, but by no means the least of Wheeling Health Right’s services, is the dispensing of medicines to its patients. As it is pointless to treat patients without providing the proper medicine, Wheeling Health Right strives to obtain the necessary funding to ensure its needy patients receive the medications they need. As of July 2009, Wheeling Health Right’s pharmacy became a licensed charitable clinic pharmacy, licensed by the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy. The Board of Pharmacy has identified Wheeling Health Right’s pharmacy as a model charitable clinic pharmacy. No controlled medications such as narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers, pain medications, diet pills, or other potentially addictive medications are dispensed at the clinic.
Wheeling Health Right does not duplicate services offered at other social service agencies. We collaborate with these agencies to provide comprehensive care for all of our clients. We do not provide services to persons with VA benefits or insurance because they can access care. This assures that those who are truly in need and without any alternate health coverage can access care at Wheeling Health Right.