In 1992, Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center created project HOPE (Health Outreach Prevention and Education) to provide follow-up services to uninsured patients following emergency department visits. The first clinic, at University Park Elementary School in Melbourne, opened in 1994 with a group of volunteer physicians and nurse practitioners from Holmes Regional.
A Medical Partnership
In 2004, recognizing a significant opportunity to expand services to the community, project HOPE applied to HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) to become a Federally Qualified Health Center. Project HOPE was supported by a community stakeholders group and Health First leadership. Upon receiving approval, HOPE became The Brevard Health Alliance, Inc. (BHA), receiving significant federal funding and enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. Each of these benefits was designed to enable BHA to significantly expand health services to Brevard County’s uninsured and underinsured citizens.
In late 2005, BHA assumed operations of the Wuesthoff Wellness Clinic and expanded BHA services into Central Brevard County. In late summer of 2010, BHA assumed the operations of the Parrish Medical Center Community Medical Clinic, receiving substantial, continued financial support and substantial free diagnostic support from Parrish Medical Center. Through the support of Parrish Medical Center, this acquisition allowed BHA to complete a key objective of offering services throughout Brevard County. The leadership of both Parrish Medical Center and Wuesthoff recognized the potential of a private-public partnership to leverage their investment in community health improvements.
No one is turned away due to inability to pay, and this is what truly sets BHA clinics apart from other health service providers. The mission of BHA is to improve the health status of Brevard County’s medically underserved populations by providing extraordinary quality of service and care in the areas of primary healthcare, dental healthcare, mental healthcare, preventive services, and educational services.
Brevard Health Alliance also features mobile units, which deliver services to citizens at numerous locations throughout Brevard County. Currently, they provide healthcare services for about 2,500 Brevard County citizens that present as homeless. The mobile units run Monday through Friday, and times vary upon location. A calendar for each month is provided on their website and via social media accounts. No appointment necessary – the mobile vehicles deliver on a first come, first serve basis.
Also, FQHCs must serve a designated medically-underserved area or medically-underserved population; offer a sliding fee scale to persons with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level; and be governed by a board of directors, of which a majority of the members receive care at the FQHC.
From Humble Beginnings to Power Providers
Brevard Health Alliance began operations in two clinics with 16 associates and a desire to improve the health of the medically underserved population of Brevard County. Today, 335 associates are employed at the seven facilities and more than 105,000 patients have been treated with medical, dental or behavioral health services.
Additionally, The Brevard Health Alliance has:
- Provided more than 732,850 medical visits
- Provided more than 54,480 dental visits
- Provided more than 32,580 behavioral health visits
- Enabled thousands of specialty referrals to more than 140 volunteer physicians
- Secured over $53 Million in free medications (at average wholesale price) through a medication assistance program
BHA continuously explores ways in which to improve and add services that will help the medically underserved while reducing the influx of hospital emergency department patients. The Board of Directors recently approved the addition of Obstetrics and Gynecological services and expansion of the Rockledge clinic.
Services offered by The Brevard Health Alliance include:
- Behavioral Health Services
Board certified Psychologists and Psychiatrists provide services for children, adolescents, adults, and families through individual and group therapy. The behavioral health team works side by side with primary care providers to improve health and functioning for patients.
- Dental Services
BHA dentists and their assistants are active in Brevard County via the mobile dental unit, which serves patients who would not otherwise have access to dental treatment and include exams, oral hygiene and dietary counseling, treatment of periodontal disease and more.
- Pediatric Services
Children under 18 years of age are provided care by board certified pediatricians and licensed pediatric nurse practitioners, ranging from routine checkups to the challenging care of medically complex children. Vaccines are always provided free of charge and offered at every visit, if appropriate.
- Adult Medicine Services
Primary medical care is provided to adults by board certified Family Practice and Internal Medicine physicians as well as licensed Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners. This includes preventive care with recommended routine screenings and women’s health exams.
- Women’s Services
Obstetrics and Gynecological Services are now offered at the BHA clinic on Sarno Road, Melbourne.
- Specialty Services
In addition to routine care, BHA provides access to specialty care in Cardiology, Endocrinology, Pulmonology, Neurology, and Dermatology Services, as needed.