This year the Fauquier Free Clinic, which has a mission to provide eligible residents of Fauquier and Rappahannock counties with access to comprehensive medical, dental and mental health care, underwent “extensive changes” to accommodate new and existing patients when Medicaid expanded its services for low-income adults throughout Virginia, the clinic said in a news release.
“In the past, our medical patients were not eligible for services if they had any type of medical insurance,” John McMahon, FFC board secretary, said in the news release. “Now approximately 60 percent are Medicaid eligible.”
In Fauquier County, between 1,700 and 1,800 more people are now eligible for Medicaid, according to the clinic news release. In Rappahannock County, 300 to 400 people are now eligible. Throughout the state of Virginia, eligibility has been granted to around additional 400,000 people.
“Medicaid expansion was a great opportunity for the commonwealth and Fauquier County to provide health insurance coverage for those most in need,” Gregory Bengston, FFC board member, said in the news release. “Changing our business model to ensure that clinic patients who now were Medicaid-eligible had continued access to health care services was a huge accomplishment.”
Board President Jan Selbo said that after learning that many medical, dental and mental health primary care providers would be unable to absorb new Medicaid patients into their practices, the FCC board unanimously agreed to undergo the process of becoming credentialed Medicaid providers. That meant changes to billing procedures, patient screening and medication acquisition, along with other changes to the clinic’s processes and procedures, according to the news release.
“The most important result—and the major consideration for all clinic’s board, staff and volunteers who participated in the decision to begin to accept Medicaid—is that FFC can continue to provide integrated health care to its patients,” Selbo said in the news release. “The willingness of the staff and volunteers to undertake this complex process has been heartening.”
According to the FCC’s 2018 annual report, more than 1,700 patients received services in a total of 7,726 appointments, including about 250 pediatric dental screenings.
“Medicaid expansion is life-changing to many residents,” said McMahon. “Having access to health care, including preventive care, will dramatically improve their quality of life. More importantly, they no longer have to fear the possibility of incurring devastating medical care debt.”