A Neighborhood Improvement Journal - Summer 2021


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Establishing a Neighborhood Health Care Resource Bank - Part II

By Fred Gillette


In Part I we discussed the healthcare resources of clinics, hospitals and insurance for those with limited means.  We continue with other resources as well as further identifying ways in which to grow and publicize your neighborhood health care resources bank.




Medicaid is public supported health care providing services to people with low or no income.  It also provides assistance to those with disabilities. Each state, with federal support, administers its own Medicaid program with its own name.  For example, in California it’s Medical; in Tennessee its TennCare. There are also great differences among states in the nature of services available.

As with other government programs, the contacts needed to be made are often with distant administrative centers.  If there is a nearby contact point, this should be indicated.  You may also find another local agency that can provide Medicaid counseling and qualification information.


Prescription drug assistance

Some people who otherwise have their healthcare needs taken care of still have difficulty meeting their prescription drug needs.  Some states have prescription drug discount programs.  You can get information about this from your state Department of Insurance or, online, search for the National Conference of State Legislatures.



Dental Care

Improbable though it may seem, some dental care emergencies can often be handled in a general hospital emergency room. There, one may also receive referrals to other sources.  A particular state’s Medicare program may also provide dental care, although this varies widely from state to state and even within some states.

Most dental schools offer dentist-supervised services at a very low cost. You can search for those located nearest your neighborhood at www.ada.org  and clicking on “dental schools”. Disabled persons may be able to obtain help or referrals from the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped at www.nfdh.org.


Affordable Care Act

The status of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation is continuously evolving, but, should more provisions of the act come into play, an ever greater number of services will become available to the underinsured.  For your resource bank, you can summarize the plan’s provisions and provide links to more complete explanations of services available.  (See Resources below.)  You can further customize your listing, providing local contacts and interpretive resources such as a local AARP counselor, or a social services office that has further professional counseling available to those needing extra assistance interpreting and understanding their rights and privileges.


How would potential users know about your resource bank?

The most obvious forum for exchange of such information would be a dedicated section of the neighborhood organization’s website.  It may even include an interactive component, supplementing the formally presented local resource data with reader comments, suggestions, questions and lists of additional resources.  Such a forum could also be carried on in an organization’s printed newsletter or bulletin boards or information kiosks.  Whichever form or forms your resource bank takes, there should always be sensitivity toward keeping it a two way street.  Those for whom you are providing information may also become your most valuable sources of new information.  Of course all resources listed should be rechecked on a periodic basis for relevance and usefulness.

Beyond this direct service to neighbors, a flyer or email announcement could be prepared and sent to local health care professionals.  There may be many competent practitioners who are not current on all the local resources for assisting a patient of theirs who needs advanced care and treatment but is unable to afford it.  Other social agencies in or near the neighborhood could be similarly informed of your resource service. These medical and social service professionals may also then become sources of additional information for you.



Most would concur that the degree to which the current health care system is failing to serve those in need is sad and disturbing.  Honorable, sincere people, with sometimes competing solutions to the problem, are toiling to solve it.  Meanwhile, it seems to be a problem of such immensity, that those of little power and influence often feel that they don’t have a chance of improving the situation.  But strides have been made.  Good people have tried to fill in the gaps by creating financially accessible clinics and referral networks, providing support for those in need and, as is the case with many health care workers, just donating services, to the extent that they are able. In our communities, we can do our part by assisting those in need find those who are ready to help.










(federally funded health centers)







(good general resource)





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