Friday, November 20, 2015

Dr. Tjeerdsma selected for National Oral Health Learning Institute

Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director
for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux
Center, was selected as one of 18 scholars from
across the nation for the National Oral Health
Learning Institute. NOHTI is a yearlong program.


by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma is being immersed into intensive training for leadership of community health center dental program.

The dentist and dental director for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center was selected as one of 18 participants nationwide in the 2015-16 class of the National Oral Health Learning Institute (NOHLI).

Tjeerdsma returned this week from a four-day National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) Conference, which was Nov. 15-18 in Indianapolis, IN, that all of the NOHLI scholars were required to attend. Nancy Dykstra, Promise’s executive director, also was required to accompany him to the initial conference.

Tjeerdsma, who completed his dental training at Creighton University Dental School in Omaha, NE, in May and assumed his position at Promise in July, said he was amazed by how many community health centers there are nationwide.

“After attending NNOHA and discussing issues with other NOHLI scholars, I saw that many of the issues that I deal with on a day-to-day basis are the same issues that many other dental directors face on a day-to-day basis as well,” he said. “I feel that with the connections that I made with other dental directors, along with the connection I made with NNOHA, I have gained resources to better address the challenges that I face.”
Dr. Tjeerdsma

Tjeerdsma took part in an introductory webinar and did initial coursework in advance of the national conference. Throughout the year, he will complete seven recorded modules and assignments, six 90-minute live webinars and four 60-minute learning pod meetings. He also will attend a three-day NOHLI Boot Camp in the spring in Denver, CO, and attend a wrap-up meeting during the 2016 NNOHA Conference in November 2016 in Denver. He also will be required to devote time to testing and implementing practical changes in the dental practice.

He thinks the yearlong learning institute will be a productive experience for him.

“I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about how to run a dental program in a health center, along with gaining further information for my skills as a clinician,” Tjeerdsma said.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Promise CHC will begin offering vision care in early 2016

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Promise Community Health Center will take the next step in the growth of its services with the addition of vision care.

The health center was awarded grant funding of $497,208 over two years through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Expanded Services program to initiate the vision services and enhance its other services.

Promise plans to begin offering the optometry services in early 2016 at its downtown Sioux Center health center.

Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center
will begin offering vision services in early 2016.


“It’s exciting because we’re providing another service that we know our patients need,” said Amy Kleinhesselink, chief financial officer for Promise. “And we’re providing it here on site, so they won’t have to go somewhere else – which can be such a barrier for them.”

Promise has entered a partnership with Beaver Eye Care of Sioux Center to offer eye exams eight hours per week at the health center. A limited selection of corrective lens and glasses also will be available to patients at Promise.

Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise, said people who otherwise had difficulty accessing affordable vision care now will have that option.
“We want to make sure we reach our target population – folks who are at or below the poverty level or who don’t have health insurance,” she said. “Affordable vision care was identified as a need in our population of patients. It fits our mission of holistic care. It’s exciting that people can come to Promise, and all the dimensions of their health care can be met in one place.”

Kleinhesselink said Promise will receive continued funding for vision services beyond the two years as part of its primary federal grant if it demonstrates that it is meeting the vision need.

The Expanded Services grant also provides funding to enhance Promise’s other programs, including digital panoramic X-ray equipment for the dental program. The grant also supports additional personnel, including a medical/optometrist assistant, billing assistant and community outreach educator.

“The community education piece is about making sure those who really need our care can get into our services,” Dykstra said.

Nationwide, 1,184 community health centers were awarded $350 million in Expanded Services grants for medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care. Iowa’s 14 community health centers will receive nearly $3.92 million.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Promise can help people enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Do you need health insurance? Are you confused about how to enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace plans? Do you have questions?

Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center can help you – for free.

Jessica Mora, office manager and community care
coordinator for Promise Community Health Center,
provides assistance with paperwork. Mora can answer
questions and help people enroll for health insurance
coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace
as a certified application counselor. The service is
provide free to anyone who would like assistance.


Promise’s bilingual certified application counselors Jessica Mora and Fatima Arteaga can assist you through every step of the process for applying and getting enrolled in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace offered through the federal website healthcare.gov.

But act soon. The 2016 open enrollment period began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31. People will need to enroll by Dec. 15 if they want their new or changing health insurance coverage to begin Jan. 1. If they enroll after that date, the coverage will take effect at later dates.

Last year, Promise assisted with 45 enrollments.

“Anybody is welcome to come in – not just Promise patients,” said Mora, office manager and community care coordinator for Promise. “Anybody is welcome to come in, and we can assist them if they have questions with insurance.”

Mora and Arteaga, who have been trained as certified application counselors, can help people navigate the healthcare.gov website. They can help them determine if they are eligible, based on their family’s income, for tax credits to lower the cost of the insurance. They can help them create an account on the Marketplace website. They can review with them the various health insurance options provided by various private companies and explain to them how the plans differ. They can help them determine if their medical providers and specialists are covered in the networks for those plans.

As certified application counselors, Mora said they can’t select a plan for an individual or family, but they can give them the information they need to make that decision.

“We help them compare the plans and see what they want,” she said. “We can help them sign up for the plan that is best for them.”

Through the process, Mora and Arteaga also can determine if people qualify for other programs such as Medicaid and the Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (hawk-i) program. Those programs provide free or low-cost health insurance coverage to families with limited income or disabilities.

People can call Promise at 712-722-1700 to make an appointment to speak with a certified enrollment counselor. Walk-ins also are accepted.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.


WHAT TO BRING CHECKLIST:
People should bring along the following information so that Promise Community Health Center’s certified application counselors can fully assist them in applying and enrolling in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan:
  • Social Security numbers or document numbers for legal immigrants for everyone in the family’s household applying for insurance coverage.
  • Employer names, addresses and phone numbers and income information from pay stubs or W-2 forms for every household member who needs coverage.
  • Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of their household.