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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Thousands of Patients Impacted When Health Provider Closes

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- The numbers, according to the Cincinnati Health Department, are staggering. 14,000 adults and 12,000 children are patients of the now out-of-business Neighborhood Health Care, Incorporated.

That agency did not get a federal grant that was needed to stay open.  What happens next is state, and local government, and insurance companies are trying to make sure everybody who went to this and other Neighborhood Health Care, Incorporated clinics can get care when they need it.

The sign at the Walnut Hills Clinic of Neighborhood Health Care, Incorporated says "accepting new patients."

Not true.  At this office, and the others downtown, in Norwood, and Harrison are not even accepting their own patients any more. 

At the door of the Harrison facility the sign says, "Closed 12p.m.-1p.m."  That makes sense, for lunch.  And you go down the sign and it says,
"Closed 12/24 and 12/25." Christmas.  But down further it says, "Neighborhood Health Care is closing on 12/30/13."

That's closing for good. Which makes lunch seem not that significant.

Thousands of patients are impacted.  Like Linda Hunley of Harrison. Hunley and her two autistic grand daughters now have to find new clinics and new doctors.  Hunley figures she'll deal with it okay but her granddaughters, ages 7 and 9, she's not so sure.

"They don't deal with change too good.  They're used to routine and if you interrupt their routine you've got problems."

Rocky Merz, City Health Dept. spokesperson, says, "This is a very challenging development in terms of the health care safety net in the city." 

Many of Neighborhood Health Care's clients are low income and uninsured.  The city health department, their clinics remain open, will make slots available immediately for OB patients, and other hospitals will open slots for other appointments soon.

The goal, find people primary care physicians. 

Merz says, "As a system, it's more expensive and much less efficient to treat in the ER, everybody agrees about that."

Short term the health department and hospitals will serve patients.  Long term, the hope is to find a new provider to take over Neighborhood Health Care's facilities, or at least their patients.

The state expects to have a hot-line operating soon so patients can call and get lined up with other clinics or insurance carriers. 

Neighborhood Health Care, Incorporated also operated six clinics inside Cincinnati Public School buildings.  Two of those clinics are closing permanently.  The health department is taking over one, and plans are being made for Children's Hospital to run the other three.




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