This story has been clarified to note that patients donate $20 a month for clinic overhead if possible.
Neighborhood Health Clinic has completed a nearly $13 million expansion to serve as a comprehensive medical home for low-income and uninsured residents of Collier County.
The multiphase expansion that began in 2017 wrapped up with the official opening of the Van Domelen Education and Wellness Building on Nov. 9.
The event also marked the end of the $12.8 million capital campaign to address growth in the community and needs of patients with more space and outpatient services, along with expanded healthy lifestyles educational programs.
Founded in 1999 by Nancy Lascheid and her late husband, Dr. William Lascheid, the clinic provides medical and dental care to adults ages 19 to 64. If possible, patients donate $20 a month for clinic overhead.
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The clinic opened in donated space in 1999 with eight patients. Today it has 15,000 patients in its database, handles more than 11,000 patient visits a year and performs more than 27,000 procedures annually.
The clinic encompasses 32,000 square feet of building space. The address is 88 12th St. N.
Roughly 188,000 adults in Collier County are between the ages of 19 to 64, and 16.5% do not have health insurance, according to the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida.
The clinic estimates 50,000 adults in Collier qualify for its services. That’s based on a study from Hodges University that determined 46,477 people aged 18 to 64 in Collier were living at poverty levels in 2013 and had no health insurance.
In 1999 when the clinic plans were announced, Collier’s population was 207,000, according to U.S. Census data. The Lascheids estimated in 1999 that 30,000 to 35,000 people were between the ages of 19 and 64, low-income and uninsured.
Leslie Lascheid, the clinic’s chief executive officer and daughter of its founders, said the finished project fulfills her parents’ vision of providing a full array of outpatient services so patients have the ease to get the medical care they need without having to take multiple days off from their jobs.
Patients can get X-rays, mammograms, gynecological services, heart care and dental services, which also reduces their time away from their families, she said.
“Twenty-two years after my parents and a few of their colleagues launched the Neighborhood Health Clinic, we have far exceeded their expectation of what a comprehensive healthcare center for Collier County’s working uninsured could be as we continue to enhance services to meet ever-changing needs,” she said in a statement.
The clinic is volunteer driven with 400 medical professionals donating their services and 300 non-medical volunteers who run the operation. There are a combined 20 full- and part-time employees.
To qualify for any of the clinic services, patients must live in Collier and work a minimum of 80 hours per month. They cannot receive any government benefits such as Medicaid or veterans’ benefits.
The clinic’s annual operating budget is $2.7 million, which is funded entirely by individual donations, foundation grants, businesses and civic organizations. It does not accept any government support.
The expanded footprint was possible because of the 2014 purchase of two acres south of the original clinic building that is at Goodlette-Frank Road north of Central Avenue.
Earlier phases of the expansion included an 8,400-square-foot addition for more dental and radiology services and renovation of existing space.
The third phase was the addition of the Armstrong Medical Building with 8,000 square feet of space for specialty services, including cardiology, gynecology, ophthalmology and ear, nose and throat services.
The new 7,400-square-foot education and wellness center allows for expanded wellness programs so patients learn how they can be healthier. The center includes a demonstration and teaching kitchen.
It is named in recognition of the $3 million gift by the Bill and Julia Van Domelen Foundation to the capital campaign.
Programs address stress management, smoking cessation, blood pressure management, breast health, diabetic care and pain management.
The Southwest Florida affiliate of the American Heart Association has stepped in with grants in the form of goods and services — including devices given to patients such as blood pressure cuffs, glucometers and pedometers — and with donations of healthy food, Nancy Lascheid said.
On Wednesday mornings, the heart association has been delivering large boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, she said.
“They would line the boxes up against the reception room wall and patients would take an entire box,” she said.