GIFFORD - Treasure Coast Community Health will take over operations at the Gifford Health Center on Aug. 26. TCCH will provide primary care, family practice, pediatrics, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, health navigation, and labs.
Education, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases are also part of visits for all patients who may be sexually active.
In May, the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County, which previously operated the Gifford Health Center, announced it would no longer provide primary care or dental services for children or adults. The change is intended to save $2 million annually.
The Indian River County Hospital District solicited proposals for other entities to take over primary care services at Gifford Health Center. Four proposals were received from Healthy Start Coalition, Treasure Coast Community Health, Visiting Nurse Association, and Whole Family Health.
The proposals from Whole Family Health and the VNA were for limited services. The proposal from Whole Family Health Center was for certain services to be provided on-site at the Gifford Health Center, with other services provided at another site.
Only TCCH proposed assuming the wide variety of care and services offered at Gifford Health Center.
The agreement brings the total number of TCCH locations to eight.
“TCCH will continue the partnerships formed within the community that have been in place,” said TCCH CEO Vicki Soule. “We expect the transition to be smooth and look forward to continuing to meet the needs of those within the Gifford community, and beyond.”
TCCH has grown from one part time medical provider and nurse to serving over 218,175 patients since 1995. In 2018, 21,675 patients came to TCCH.
“Our patients come from many different walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds,” said Ms. Soule in her proposal to the hospital district. “However, most of our patients (95% of those with known incomes) are people whose incomes fall at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines, including the uninsured, under-insured, and working poor. We are open to those who typically have trouble finding affordable care in this county.”
A sliding discount program will be available for those with limited resources.
The TCCH proposal anticipates the facility being staffed by at least one family practice physician, one APRN or PA experienced in family medicine, one pediatric physician, and one APRN or PA experienced in pediatrics.
TCCH anticipates approximately 11,000 medical visits over the first year, and an additional 2,000 behavioral health visits.
Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition and Indian River County Medical Society's We Care Program will continue to provide services at GHC. Healthy Start provides pre-natal and post-natal care. The We Care program, established in 1991, relies on volunteer active and retired physicians providing free specialty medical treatment to residents who are financially unable to afford specialty health care.
The VNA bus will continue to offer its services on their regular schedule of Wednesdays and Thursdays through September.
Treasure Coast Community Health will host a community open house at the new Gifford Health Center on Friday, Sept. 13, from 5- 7 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and the public will have an opportunity to meet the TCCH staff and tour the facility.
All Indian River County residents may select this TCCH location for medical services. Hours will be Mon., Wed., and Fri., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tues. and Thurs., 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sat., 8 a.m.-noon. Appointments may be made by calling TCCH at (772) 257-8224.
The GHC is located at 4675 28th Ct., Vero Beach.