Carolina HealthCare Systems sponsors many low-cost community health fairs to help people stay healthy and learn how to improve their health.
Pam Null, director of community relations at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln, said their medical campus alone sponsors more than 100 health fairs a year. "We never say no if asked to do a health fair, and we seek opportunities to carry out our mission of enabling people to stay as healthy as possible."
A typical community health fair will cost CMC-Lincoln approximately $2,000 but in turn provides savings in health-care costs by promoting the health and well-being of people in the community.
"We're all part of the problem and part of the solution," said Null. "We are each responsible for our health, and we don't always take responsibility for managing our health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle."
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A major goal of the community health fairs is to address this issue. "We try to get folks to take charge of those aspects of their health that they can manage, keeping in mind that there are things that are beyond their control," said Null.
"If we can keep these folks healthy through clinics and health fairs, they won't have to come into the hospital setting, where health care costs are higher," she said. "It's a win-win for the community and for us. We keep them out of the hospital while assisting them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle."
"As a nonprofit health-care provider we cannot, nor would we want to, deny anyone care based on their ability to pay for their services," said Null. "However, our mission is to take care of the health-care needs of our community in the most cost-effective way."
In those cases where people without insurance are treated in the emergency room, attempts are made to seek reimbursement through Medicaid, whenever possible.
"We also work as a team to try to find ways to make sure that when an indigent patient leaves our hospital, they will be able to obtain medication and access outpatient health care, so they don't simply wind up back in the ER, which is ultimately more costly, and their health status is at risk again," said Null.