The Minnie Jones Health Center (MJHC) is our largest program and the one through which we implement the core elements of our vision and mission. MJHC is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or community health center (CHC). To qualify for FQHC status, an entity must continuously comply with Federal laws and regulations designed to ensure a comprehensive response to our patients' preventive and primary care health needs. The Federal agency that regulates and supervises FQHCs is the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition to regulatory oversight, HRSA provides technical assistance and direct financial support to community health centers throughout the nation. MJHC is the only FQHC in Buncombe County. In addition to specific preventive and primary care services mandated by Federal law, community health centers are strongly encouraged to provide dental care and behavioral health services. We must also provide the social supports (e.g., benefits eligibility assistance) that help our patients make effective use of our services. While HRSA expects us to provide a health care home capable of meeting the majority of our patients' needs, a community health center must also design its services in a manner that best addresses the specific gaps and strengths of the community it serves. For this reason, despite some basic similarities, there is great variation in the services and service delivery models that CHCs employ.
Our ongoing, formal and informal needs assessment process informs our strategic planning. As a result, WNCCHS, through the Minnie Jones Health Center, established three 'core' programs that are available to any resident of Buncombe County. Although we invite our patients to use as many of these three services as they need, they can also access each core program individually. In other words, a patient can use only one, two, or all three core programs. We adopted this somewhat unique policy because our Board of Directors determined this approach is best suited for our patients, the resources available to them, and the overall needs of the Buncombe County community. Our three core programs are: Medical Care Service, Dental Care Service, and Behavioral Health Service.
Our services are patient-centered and family-oriented. This means we personalize the services we provide to each patient - engaging the patient and his or her family (as defined by the patient) in the care process. It also means we provide life-long care, for all life cycles (children, adolescents, adults, and elders), across the wellness-to-illness spectrum. Our three core services are discussed below.
Medical Care Service (MCS)
This program is rooted in the concept of primary health care, which for us is defined by the Declaration of Alma Ata. In general, primary health care should be the first point of contact with the health care system for the vast majority of the population. It should deliver preventive services--including periodic assessments/evaluations (i.e., 'well exams'), child and adult immunizations, diagnoses and treatment for communicable diseases (e.g., STD), diagnosis and management of chronic diseases (e.g., hypertension and diabetes), and referrals to specialty care (e.g., cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, etc.). All the services described above are delivered at the MJHC following the Patient Centered Medical Home model of care. (also see Prenatal)
Our MCS program is staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners trained and experienced in the primary care disciplines' of family practice, internal (adult) medicine, pediatric (child) medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
Dental Care Service (DCS)
Oral health is an essential component of primary care. However, oral health must be delivered by especially trained professionals, i.e., dentists and dental hygienists. For a number of reasons, regular dental care is traditionally out of reach for underserved populations in general and our patients in particular. At the Minnie Jones Health Center, we focus on providing basic, but comprehensive, oral health care at affordable prices. In addition to preventive services (i.e., education, counseling and tartar removal), we offer the following services: comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and treatment planning, restorative procedures (e.g., fillings), surgical procedures (e.g., extractions), and rehabilitative services (e.g. periodontal treatment, root canals, and dentures). We do not provide cosmetic services. Dental care services are delivered at the MJHC.
Our DCS program is staffed by dentists and dental hygienists trained and experienced in general dentistry. You can find biographical sketches of all the oral health clinicians currently on our staff on the "Our Staff" page.
Behavioral Health Service (BHS)
When needed, access to behavioral health care is essential and indispensable for individual well-being. Traditionally, behavioral health services (also called mental health/substance abuse services) are completely separated from primary health care and delivered through parallel systems and separate mechanisms. At the same time, scientific research increasingly shows that most mental health disorders - particularly the most serious and chronic (e.g., schizophrenia and bipolar illness) - are biologically-based and can be effectively treated/managed by modern medicine. Besides fragmenting care, the traditional 'segregated' care approach can lead to unnecessary stigma, and worse, to poor health outcomes for the most vulnerable and underserved populations. For this reason, at the Minnie Jones Health Center, behavioral health services are fully integrated into the Patient Centered Medical Home model of primary health care. Our behavioral health services include comprehensive evaluation/diagnostic assessments, medication management, individual, family and group therapy; using the following evidence-based practices: motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. These approaches are used to help our patients reduce or stop harm from tobacco/alcohol/drug abuse, as well as to support them in the development of skills to cope with the stresses and traumas of life.
Our BHS program is staffed by well-trained and experienced physicians, nurse practitioners, therapists, and social workers/case managers. You you can find biographical sketches for all the behavioral health clinicians currently on our staff on the "Our Staff" page.
Diseases and conditions that were previously lethal can now be managed through effective drug therapy (e.g., HIV disease). At the same time, the costs of drugs, as well as the costs required to deliver those drugs (e.g., pharmacist salaries and benefits), continue to escalate. To sustain our pharmacy program overtime, we must control its costs. In order to accomplish this goal, we rely on the concept of the 'rational use of medicines' developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Specific cost-control measures include the following: a formulary modeled on the WHO'S List of Essential Medicines; use of a purchasing mechanism available to Federally-funded entities; and cost recovery (through user fees) of the majority of prescriptions dispensed. We do not collect user fees from any uninsured child (ages 0-17) or elderly (65+) patient. Consistent with our value of solidarity, we waive user fees, on a case-by-case basis, for non-disabled, working-age adults who are unable to pay the full cost of the prescriptions they need. To ensure these substantial subsidies are targeted towards those most in need, fee waiver requirements are rigorous. All fee waivers are subject to the availability of funds.
Pharmacy services can be accessed ONLY if you are an established medical/dental/behavioral health patient of ours.
Our PCS program is staffed by well-trained and experienced pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. You can find biographical sketches for all the pharmacy professionals currently on our staff on the "Our Staff" page.
Benefits Eligibility Assistance (BEA)
To finance access to health services, half our patients must rely on third party payers (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid). These programs have complex enrollment and participation procedures. The other half of our patients are completely uninsured. Uninsured patients must rely on the drug manufacturers' assistance programs for limited in-kind support (i.e., donated medications). Left to fend for themselves, the majority of our patients would simply not obtain and maintain the public/private benefits for which they may be eligible. To help our patients navigate these complex programs, we employ Benefits Specialists. In addition, the Buncombe County Department of Social Services outposts its staff at our clinic in order to reduce barriers and facilitate access to public benefits.
Benefits Eligibility Assistance services can be accessed ONLY if you are an established medical/dental/behavioral health patient of ours.
Our BEA program is staffed by well-trained and experienced personnel. You can find biographical sketches for all the Benefits Specialists currently on our staff on the "Our Staff" page.
HIV Care Network of Western North Carolina
As our history shows, our first programs were in HIV/AIDS care and advocacy. Since 1995, we have provided comprehensive, state-of-the-art health care and social services to more than 3,000 persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in western North Carolina. In 2010, we integrated all our HIV/AIDS-related services into the HIV Care Network of Western North Carolina (Network). This program is available to all persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the following counties of western North Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey. Check out the hivcarewnc.org website for more information. Through the Network, persons living with HIV/AIDS in western North Carolina - particularly those who are uninsured or underinsured - can access comprehensive, coordinated health and support services. The Network is funded by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is administered by the HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS). The mission of the Network is to improve the health status of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the region. To accomplish its mission, the Network has three key goals: finding persons who are infected with HIV and either donít know their status or are not engaged in medical care, enrolling and retaining those persons in medical care, and ensuring the medical care received by persons with HIV/AIDS meets or exceeds the performance measures set by HRSA/HAB.
As the program name implies, services are delivered through an organized network of providers. The specific Ryan White services--funded by Parts B, C, and D of the Act--available through the network and the organizations that provide those services are listed below.
Administration, planning and evaluation:
Western NC Community Health Services (WNCCHS)
Oral Health Care Minnie Jones Health Center
Mental Health Care Minnie Jones Health Center
Substance Abuse Services Minnie Jones Health Center
Case Management (non-medical)
Child Care Services
Emergency Financial Assistance
WNCAP and WNCCHS
Psychosocial Support Services
Treatment Adherence Counseling