April 9, 2014
For further information, contact:
Rick Osborn, Public Information Officer, BentonCountyBoard of Commissioners
(541) 766-6082, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monroe Health Center serves community’s health needs
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Living in a rural setting has its challenges, but access to quality health care isn’t one of them for residents of Monroe, population 680, in south Benton County.
Monroe and the surrounding community have been served by the Monroe Health Center since 2004, which operated as a school-based health center before that. Located next to Monroe Grade School, Monroe Health Center offers excellent and affordable care for everyone, including adult and well-child check-ups, acute care, chronic disease management, women’s health, osteopathic manual treatment, family planning, dental care, pharmacy services and, coming soon, mental health services.
What makes the center unique is that no one is turned away, said Medical Assistant Lori Diaz, who has worked at the center since it opened. Even though many private or group medical practices are closed to patients with certain insurance plans or don’t take new patients, the Monroe Health Center can serve everyone regardless of insurance coverage.
Having a primary care provider has made a real difference in the lives of patients like Flor Carrillo, who suffers from diabetes. She feels a connection with the staff from the moment she walks in the front door.
“They really know you,” Carrillo said. “They make you feel like family.”
Carrillo said she can ask about anything, and her doctor takes the time to answer her questions. She’s learned how to manage her diabetes, and has been able to reduce her medication after making lifestyle changes recommended by her care team.
“It’s made a huge difference for me,” Carrillo said.
The Health Center maintains close ties with Monroe schools. Clinic staff members meet with educators about health concerns, and community pride is on display as patients are greeted by the “This is Monroe Dragon Country” sign on the front door.
Patient Janeece Cook, who serves on the Health Center’s Board of Directors, is also one of the coordinators of Monroe’s annual community health fair. The Health Center joins with other agencies and organizations to provide screenings and education each spring. Being part of a close-knit community enables Monroe Health Center to become deeply involved in patient care.
Medical Assistant Diaz recalled how the Monroe Health Center team was able to convince a patient without insurance who had dangerously low platelet counts to be seen at the emergency room. She got on the phone with the hospital’s billing department, in order to reassure the patient, and then arranged for follow-up care.
Another patient who was seen for a well-child check-up was referred for early intervention and special education services and is now thriving because of the involvement of her medical providers.
About one-third of Monroe Health Center’s patients speak Spanish, and staff members at the center are bilingual. The center has a focus on preventive care and improving the health of rural residents.
Nutrition and lifestyle are important to physician Kyle Homertgen, D.O., who joined the Monroe Health Center in 2013. At the front desk, Dr. Homertgen posted a note reminding patients that food can be the best medicine or the slowest poison, along with a prescription for patients that reads: I accept myself unconditionally right now.
“It’s a big shift for a lot of patients who were not getting the care they need,” Dr. Homertgen said. “As we get to know them, we meet them where they are … and empower them to make changes.”
Monroe Health Center, 610 Dragon Drive, is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The center accepts new primary care patients.
For more information, call 541-847-5243
If you go
What: Monroe Community Health Fair, a free event featuring health and wellness activities
When: 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30
Where: Monroe High School