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Caring for a Larger Segment of Collier County

The recent change in the Florida Legislature regarding statute 766.1115 will have an impact on the access to medical care for so many in need in Collier County, as well as the State of Florida.  Previously, the State of Florida, Statute 766, which encompasses Sovereign Immunity had defined “poverty” as 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, as it applies to determining income qualification for patients accessing care within free and charitable clinics.

Sovereign Immunity provides liability protection for medical professionals who give back by volunteering their time and talents to help those in need.   Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved to change federal poverty guidelines from 200% to 300%, understanding the rising cost of living in of our communities and its effect on the care for those in need.  Increasing the percentage from 200% to 300% will open the doors more widely in creating opportunities for people within that lower economic threshold to receive necessary care.

Neighborhood Health Clinic has immediately made the change for those qualifying for care at the Clinic.  “We see over 12,000 patient visits annually with the previous threshold of 200% federal poverty guidelines and with the change to 300% we anticipate an increase in those numbers,” says Leslie Lascheid, CEO Neighborhood Health Clinic.  “We know in the qualification process in the past, we met with chronically ill individuals making between 200% and 300% who did not qualify.  Getting this information out to the public now will allow those to re-qualify and receive the needed care -at no cost to them.  We will be able to care for a larger segment of adults in our community who choose work over welfare.”