BATTLE GROUND — After offering free medical and dental services for more than five years to community members in the Clark County area who are uninsured or underinsured, Battle Ground Health Care now also offers rehabilitation services, including chronic pain self-management classes.
During a monthly Lunch and Learn event at the Battle Ground Health Care clinic on Tue., March 14, attendees were able to hear from several of the people who work with and for the free clinic, including Board Member Peter Bascetta; Executive Director Sue Neal; Anne Lamberton, dietician at the clinic; and Lori Lasher, the dental clinic coordinator.
Rehabilitation services and chronic pain management
One of the main topics of discussion during the March 14 luncheon was the addition of rehabilitation services to the clinic, which were added in December. These services include physical, occupational, speech and medical massage therapy. Also included as a rehabilitation service is the new chronic pain self-management course, “Taking Back My Life.”
“Taking Back My Life” is an eight-week series of classes that provide:
- Education from physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health and nutrition specialists.
- Supplies such as a pedometer and TENS unit, and books to assist participants in improving their activity tolerance and managing pain, nutrition and coping mechanisms are included with the class.
- Support from others with similar challenges.
In order to participate in this program, patients must be diagnosed with chronic pain; be at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level; and be referred to “Taking Back My Life” by their M.D., P.A., A.N.R.P. or therapist.
Dietician Anne Lamberton is one of the staff members who works with people participating in the “Taking Back My Life” program. Lamberton said the clinic was able to start offering these rehabilitation services after they received a $15,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente.
“In this program (‘Taking Back My Life’) we really help people take back their life,” Lamberton said. “People with chronic pain are just stuck in this vicious cycle. There’s a lot of psychological stuff going on when it comes to pain and nutrition also plays a huge part, there’s a big connection between diet and pain.”
Since starting the “Taking Back My Life” program in December, Lamberton said they currently just started their eighth one. The program is eight weeks long for two hours each week. Participants receive guidance and care from experts in physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health and nutrition.
On average, Lamberton said there are usually about six participants in each eight-week program, although they actually have 11 participating in the current one. She said one of the most rewarding aspects of the program is seeing how much the participants really start caring about one another.
“We had one gentleman who, during the part of our time together when we go around and talk about what we’ve been eating, said he had been eating Top Ramen because it was the end of the month,” Lamberton said. “During the rest of our meeting, one participant slipped out and had her husband waiting in the parking lot with a bag of fresh vegetables from their garden and some food from their own pantry for this gentleman. It was very heartwarming.”
The need for health care services
Sue Neal, executive director of the Battle Ground Health Care clinic, also spoke to attendees at the March 14 luncheon and explained that Battle Ground Health Care exists because of the huge need for health care in the Clark County area and in the country.
“When we first opened, we were open on Tuesdays and we had probably 12-15 patients every Tuesday,” Neal said. “Then the Affordable Care Act came into play and that changed the need in some respects. Health care has often been an area where people and families will cut corners when they need to save money. There are a lot of people who fall into the ‘insurance gap,’ they qualify for coverage but can’t afford it. We’re trying to reach those people.”
According to the Battle Ground Health Care website, more than 61,000 people in Clark County qualify for services offered through the clinic. The clinic offers medical, dental and rehabilitation services to those individuals in the community who are at 300 percent or less of the federal poverty level, and who are between the ages of 18-65 years old.
Since adding the new rehabilitation services at the clinic, Neal said they have been “very, very busy.”
“We had no idea the huge need that was there,” she said.
Battle Ground Health Care provides care for people with chronic conditions, it is not an urgent care or primary care facility. Some of the most common chronic conditions that the clinic provides services for include diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, fibromyalgia, heart conditions and chronic pain. Dental services provided include dental exams and X-rays, as well as some cleanings, fillings or extractions.
Battle Ground Health Care is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that is a community and faith-based organization. Numerous local churches, businesses and individuals within the community have provided goods, services and many hours of volunteer time because they care about their neighbors and want to serve those in need. The mission of the clinic is to improve the medical and dental health of the community, reduce the costs of emergency room visits by managing patients with chronic care needs and improve the overall quality of life for those around the community.
The clinic is located at 11117 NE 189th St., Suite 216, in Battle Ground. To find out more about the services Battle Ground Health Care offers and to find out if you qualify for free services, visit http://battlegroundhealthcare.org/, call (360) 687-8941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. By visiting the website, you can also find out how to make a donation, how to volunteer with the clinic and more. Battle Ground Health Care also holds their Lunch and Learn events every second Tuesday of the month from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Community members can attend and learn more about the clinic and its services.