Frances Nelson Health Center now under local control

CHAMPAIGN — Frances Nelson Health Center is back under local leadership.

A local community group negotiating to buy the Champaign clinic from its Decatur parent organization completed the deal Nov. 1 but kept it quiet until Tuesday, after letters went out to patients, said Nancy Greenwalt, executive director of Promise Healthcare, the new organization operating Frances Nelson.

Frances Nelson had been operated by Community Health Improvement Center in Decatur for the past 11 years.

Long serving as a federally qualified health center designated to provide care for the needy and medically underserved, Frances Nelson Health Center got its start as a tiny clinic on Carver Drive in Champaign and moved in 2006 to its larger and more modern facility at 819 Bloomington Road through a community fundraising effort led by the local United Way.

The United Way also established a community health care coalition last year to address a widening need for more health care for low-income and uninsured people in the local community and, to help accomplish that goal, helped lead efforts to negotiate a deal with CHIC for local governance of Frances Nelson.

As part of this new deal, Greenwalt said, Frances Nelson remains a federally qualified health center but will be a sub-recipient of its federally qualified health center grant through CHIC, because it may be several years — possibly as late as 2016 – before it can apply on its own.

Patient records are being transferred to Promise Healthcare, and Frances Nelson’s phone number and hours are remaining the same for now. But some immediate changes have been made, Greenwalt said.

Co-payments for the most needy patients have been slashed from $15 to $10, and some Fridays and Saturdays have been added to the dental clinic, which had been open just Monday through Thursday, Greenwalt said.

Greenwalt said terms of the financial deal between Promise Healthcare and CHIC aren’t being disclosed.

“We were able to raise money privately with local support,” she said.

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