|Lebanon Family Health Services|
Ann Biser, Donna Williams, Kim Kreider Umble, Vicki DeLoatch
It hasn’t always been this way. In 1973, when Lebanon Family Health Services began, these women had nowhere to go for women’s health services. Through the years, as the ranks of the uninsured grew, so did the number of women showing up to the emergency room in the Lebanon County community ready to deliver a baby that had never received any prenatal care. In 1990, their services expanded to include prenatal care. For over 35 years, The Lebanon Family Health Services has been serving uninsured and underinsured woman with reproductive health and nutrition services.
The benefits of prenatal care are conclusive. Women who receive prenatal care while pregnant experience a dramatic reduction in maternal deaths, low birth-weight babies, miscarriages, birth defects and many other preventable infant problems. However, with roughly 13% of woman being uninsured and many others considered underinsured because their health insurance policies either do not cover prenatal care or consider it a pre-existing condition, many woman, particularly minority woman are not able to access this vital and research proven medical care. The sad reality, as the numbers of uninsured has grown over the past few decades, so has the grim statistic of infant mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1960, the United States ranked 12th in infant mortality, 23rd in 1990 and 29th in 2004.
In 2014, because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), these women that have utilized Lebanon Family Health Services will now be insured. Above all however, the PPACA also states that as part of the essential benefits, healthcare items that insurance plans are now mandated to cover, prenatal and infant care are included. It has become a question to many that have worked for decades helping the uninsured acquire access to healthcare what will happen to places like The Lebanon Family Health Services. For Kim Kreider-Umble, CEO of Lebanon Family Health Services, she welcomes this change. “Bring them on,” she responds in response to the new inflow of patients. After all, this is what she and advocates like her have been fighting to achieve for decades. “Now, this can be a place of choice instead of a place of need for our clients,” she explains. They plan on marketing directly to this population with their quality services and meet the increased demand with smart utilization of resources such as schedule adjusting and doubling duties. “After all,” Kim concludes, “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege!”