Leon County Provides Healthcare for the Uninsured

"Clients will not be able to enter the CareNet
Program without proof of residency and income."

Why do we need a healthcare program for the uninsured?
How will the County provide healthcare to uninsured residents?
What is CareNet?
What services will be available to the uninsured?
How does someone qualify for the County's Uninsured Healthcare Program?
Are there any fees for services?
When does this program become effective?
Why did you decide to use CareNet for these services?
How will you know that you are only servicing residents of Leon County?
How will this program be funded?
Were other options explored before deciding to raise taxes?
How will the Board know whether this Program is effective?
Who do I call to find out more information on this program?

Why do we need a healthcare program for the uninsured?
Research indicates that uninsured Leon County residents normally turn to our local hospitals' emergency rooms for their healthcare needs. Many times these costly emergency room visits take place for commonplace illnesses that have gone untreated. More often than not, if they had received preventive care, the illnesses they suffered could have been avoided altogether. Our local hospitals report that visits in their emergency rooms for primary care services to the uninsured translate into millions of dollars of bad debt charges each year. Ultimately, all County residents end up paying the price for these bad debt charges with the ever increasing costs of healthcare.

How will the County provide healthcare to uninsured residents?
The Board of County Commissioners voted at their December 11, 2001 meeting to fund an existing healthcare program, CareNet, already available to Leon County residents. County funds will be used to expand CareNet's primary care and specialty care services to an approximate additional 4,500 County residents.

What is CareNet?
CareNet is a public and private sector collaboration (not a health insurance plan) designed to deliver primary healthcare, as well as specialty care services to uninsured residents. The CareNet Program is already in existence in a limited capacity because of limited funding. Leon County will supplement existing funds to expand the services provided to more of the County's uninsured residents. The primary purpose of the CareNet Program is to expand access to primary care services for uninsured and working families of Leon County. These primary and specialty care services are provided by the CareNet Partners: Neighborhood Health Services, Bond Community Health Center, specialty doctors of the We Care Network (sponsored by the Capital Medical Society), the FAMU College of Pharmacy, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Tallahassee Community Hospital, and the Leon County Health Department.

What services will be available to the uninsured?
By visiting the Bond Community Health Center or Neighborhood Health Services, a resident may gain access to many primary health care services, such as:

Acute Adult and Pediatric Care
Cardiology
Case Management and Social Work
Communicable Disease Screening
Disease Management for Hypertension, Diabetes
Education and Outreach
Eye Care Screening
Family Planning
Gynecology
HIV Counseling and Testing
Immunizations
Nutrition Counseling
Pharmacy Prescription
Physical Exams

Should the primary care physician determine that a patient needs further, specialized healthcare, the patient will then be referred to the We Care Network. This network of volunteer doctors offers specialized care in all areas of medicine, including access to radiology diagnostics, physical therapy, hospitalization, surgery, pathology, anesthesiology, home healthcare, and medical equipment.

How does someone qualify for the County's Uninsured Healthcare Program?
You could be eligible for the CareNet Program if you are currently uninsured, a Leon County resident, not eligible for any other healthcare programs or subsidies, under the age of 65, and have an income of up to 200% of the current Federal Poverty Level.

In order to determine your eligibility for this program, please visit one of the following primary healthcare clinics:

Bond Community Health Center
710 West Orange Avenue "Medical Home"
or
872 West Orange Ave "Family Medicine"
Tallahassee, FL 32310
(850) 576-4073
Neighborhood Health Services
438 West Brevard Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 224-2469

Are there any fees for services?
It depends upon your level of income. All residents with incomes below 100% of the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will be provided services at no charge. Residents with incomes above Federal Poverty Level (up to 200% of FPL) will share the cost of services based upon their income. Call or visit the Bond or Neighborhood Health Clinics (listed above) for

When does this program become effective?
The CareNet Program is already in effect and accepting new clients. County residents may access the primary care services of the CareNet Program by visiting Bond Community Health Center or Neighborhood Health Services (addresses listed above). County funds began supplementing the CareNet Program January 1, 2002.

Why did you decide to use CareNet for these services?
The Board chose to use the CareNet Program to provide uninsured healthcare services because it was determined to be the most efficient, cost effective means by which to deliver healthcare services to an approximate additional 4,500 of the County's uninsured. Not only does the CareNet Program offer access to primary care services via the two health clinics, but also significant to this program is the existing network of specialty care physicians (We Care Network, sponsored by Capital Medical Society) that volunteer their services to the CareNet Program. Primary care physicians can refer patients in need of specialty care (eg., hospitalization, surgery, pathology, anesthesiology, home healthcare, medical equipment, lab work, radiology diagnostics, etc.) This continuum of care is a significant addition to the healthcare currently being provided uninsured residents of Leon County. The Board of County Commissioners recognize and support continued collaboration through the funding of the CareNet Program and its partners.

How will you know that you are only servicing residents of Leon County?
Upon entering the Bond or Neighborhood Health Clinics, clients will be asked to fill out an enrollment form, during which time the clinic staff will verify residency and income eligibility. Clients will not be able to enter the CareNet Program without proof of residency and income.

How will this program be funded?
The Board of County Commissioners voted at their July 31, 2001 meeting to use three funding sources to fund the first year of healthcare for the uninsured:

$500,000 Self Insurance Fund - one-time funds in the County's budget that are not currently reserved for use for a specific purpose. The fund is used to pay for County Workers' Compensation, vehicle and general liability insurance coverages.

$200,000 Intergovernmental Transfer (IGT) - involves County collaboration with local hospitals to acquire federal matching funds from the Special Medicaid Payment Program.

.06 mill Additional Ad Valorem Property Tax - for a home of $100,000 assessed value, with a $25,000 homestead exemption, the .06 mill amounts to additional property taxes of $4.50 a year, which is 37.5 cents per month, or 1.2 cents per day.

Were other options explored before deciding to raise taxes?
Yes. The Board of County Commissioners deliberated extensively on this issue while also exploring the use of a Voter Approved Indigent Care Surtax (2 penny sales tax), the use of fund balance from the General Fund and/or the Municipal Services Fund, as well as general reductions of existing programs and expenditures for funding this program. Funding of the County's Uninsured Healthcare Program for future years will be determined by the Board during their annual budget exercise.

How will the Board know whether this Program is effective?
Comprehensive program reporting, monitoring and data analysis will take place each month to determine appropriate use of County funds, as well as effectiveness of this program in providing healthcare to additional County uninsured residents.

Who do I call to find out more information on this program?

  • For general questions on the County's funding of CareNet, please call County Administration: (850) 488-9962.

  • For general questions regarding the CareNet Program, please call the Leon County Health Department Administrator: (850) 487-3162.

  • For questions regarding primary health care services or eligibility requirements, please call one of the following clinics:

Bond Community Health Center
(850) 576-4073

Neighborhood Health Services
(850) 224-2469

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