BUCYRUS — Area residents seeking a one-stop shop for health care will soon be able to take advantage of a collaboration between Community Counseling Services and Third Street Family Health Services.
Community Counseling, 2458 Stetzer Road, Bucyrus offers mental health care services as well as substance abuse care.
Third Street Family Health Services offers preventative and other health care services.
Third Street will soon be opening an office in the same building where Community Counseling is housed, and the directors of the two agencies couldn’t be happier about the collaboration.
Nicole Williams, MBA and chief operating officer with Third Street Family Health Services, and Cindy Wallis, MSW-LISW-S, and executive director of Community Counseling, came together this week to tour the ongoing construction at the facility on Stetzer Road and to talk about what services will be offered at the Third Street Clinic and about how the pairing of the two agencies will mike life easier for clients.
“Cindy used to work at Catalyst. We did something very similar with Catalyst, the mental health facility in Mansfield,” Williams said. “So we have the same set up with medical providers, and it’s a good set up. It’s a collaboration where we can eliminate some barriers so if the patient is coming for mental health, we could see them for primary care. And then we kind of interact and talk with that patient together.
”But they don’t have to go to Community Counseling to see us,” Williams noted. “Anyone can just come in. But it kind of helps both agencies so we can make sure we’re taking care of the patient as a whole.”
“We’ve been talking about this collaboration for years. We’ve just needed some more space to make it happen,” she said.
Wallis said Community Counseling Services offered up the space from areas that were used by support staff.
“That has bothered me since I’ve been here, because I’ve always thought it was a waste of space,” she said. “It was mainly just storage. We just had three staff back here.”
Williams said at first, Third Street Health Services in Bucyrus will have a nurse practitioner to take care of patients in terms of primary care, which can include treatment for the flu, sick visits and preventative care.
“But we have space for two providers. As this grows, we can add another provider,” she said.
She explained the space also will include areas for labs, as well as a med-room where vaccines can be administered. There also will be five exam rooms.
Williams said people will be able to walk into the clinic to see someone or make an appointment.
“Then we can refer based on needs,” she said. “If you have to go out for a specialty visit, we already have those referrals in place to help a patient. And anyone can come see us. People who have primary insurance can come here. We have a good mix of Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance. And then there are some who have no insurance, and depending where you fall on our sliding fee scale, you could pay as little as $20 a visit.”
“Whenever we look at going into an area, we look to see where our patients are coming from. We are pulling a a lot of patients from this area. They come and see us in Ontario or Mansfield and Shelby,” Williams said. “We see we are drawing patients, so if we can actually have a location here instead of having them drive that is beneficial.
“Plus, we look at the poverty limits and decide if there is a need. With this collaboration with Community Counseling, they already have a good group of patients so we’re hoping to collaborate with them.”
Williams said Community Counseling Services offered the space for the new clinic and Third Street paid for the new construction, about $150,000.
“We’ll lease this space from Community Counseling for a very nice price,” Williams added. “It’s quite an investment, but we know it works and the patients need it.”
Construction of the Third Street Clinic at Community Counseling Services started in August and Williams said the contractor is expected to be finished in November.
“Hopefully by December — if not, the first of the year — we’ll start seeing patients,” Williams said. “We already have the provider hired, and we already have the support staff hired. They are getting training right now. As soon as this place is up and running, we can just move them right over here.”
Wallis added: “My favorite part of this is patients can get all the care they need right under one roof.”
She said efforts are going on to try to get a pharmacy constructed at Community Counseling so patients don’t have to travel to yet another location to get prescriptions filled.
“Genoa (Healthcare) is doing the formula and submitted everything. We’re hoping to get a full service pharmacy right off the lobby,” Wallis said.
She explained the collaboration with Third Street will also help Community Counseling Services is several ways.
“A lot of patients come in and have high blood pressure or diabetes issues, and a ton of other medical issues. But they don’t get them addressed,” Wallis said. “It’s either out of cost or out of fear. A lot of clients who come in are so afraid, they think they are being judged. But if our staff already have a relationship with a patient, they can come back here and do a warm hand-off with that patient and tell them that these people are safe.
“It’s that comfort, of being able to hand people off in a safe way. A lot of our people just don’t feel safe, and a lot of them can’t get in. If you have Medicaid, we hear the waiting list to get in ( to see a doctor) is forever.”
“We accept that,” Williams said. “That is our bread and butter. We actually grew after our expansion because private doctors will usually limit their patient panel, so you have all these new people come onto the system. And, we’re a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).”
Wallis noted that with FQHC’s, nobody is denied treatment.
“I feel like what makes all this work is the collaboration in terms of everyone is similar in what they can offer the patients,” Williams said. “If you’re in need, you don’t want to come here and then have to go somewhere else. Everyone is committed to the same vision.”
Photo by Jodi Myers
Cindy Wallis, executive director of Community Counseling Services in Bucyrus shares information during a tour Tuesday about a new collaboration between Community Counseling and Third Street Family Health Services.
Photo by Jodi Myers
There is a lot of construction going on the Stetzer Road offices of Community Counseling Services in Bucyrus. Extra space is being remodeled to make room for Third Street Family Health to move their services to Bucyrus in an effort to provide, faster, more efficient care for area residents.