Program a plus for health center

The value of the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center is not a secret.

The center opened its doors at 701 N. Fourth St. in Steubenville on March 13, 2006, and its continued growth certainly can be labeled an overall success. A glance at the statistics proves that.

Since opening its doors, the center, which serves the area’s uninsured and under insured, has provided care for more than 10,000 patients. In 2012 alone, it provided more than 1,500 patient visits to 561 patients. And health center officials said they were able to save its patients more than $800,000 in medications through the Prescription Assistance Program, with nearly 1,200 prescriptions written that year.

At the Fourth Street Health Center patients are offered various services and programs such as management and detection of chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension; providing referral services to programs offered by local organizations; diabetes education classes; and smoking cessation classes. And plans call for free dental services and a mental health clinic in the future.

Now the center has stepped up to the plate again – this time offering the “Free to Be Healthy” program for one year.

It’s aimed at helping patients with diabetes or at risk for diabetes, and according to health center officials, these patients make up approximately one-fourth of those seen and treated at the health center.

To help launch the program, officials have scheduled a free diabetic lunch and educational program at 11:30 a.m. on March 3 at the YWCA on North Fourth Street.

We appreciate the doctors, nurses, aides and volunteers at the health center who conduct the quality of life assessments for the diabetic patients, and all patients for that matter. The end goal is to make the patients’ lives healthier and, ultimately, better.

It’s important to note that the health center offers free diabetic testing supplies, as well as medication, to its patients. Overall, it helps to ensure the patients can learn about their disease and the best way to treat it.

The program is funded by the American Medical Association Foundation Healthy Communities grant, the CVS Caremark Community grant, the Esther Simmons Charitable Trust, the Healthpath Foundation of Ohio Community Connection grant with matching funds from the Hess Corp. and Bill and Juanita Welsh and the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation-Novo Nordisk grant.

We’re hoping for such success, that it can continue for many years to come.