Written by Natalie Gustafson, Marketing & Communications Manager
NorthLakes Community Clinic (Published 1/2018)
The NorthLakes Community Clinic Board of Directors, which is made up mostly of patients of the Health Center, has established a mission that requires staff to get outside the walls of our clinics to work towards the health of our communities. “The Board has been clear, says Reba Rice, CEO. In effect, they have said, ‘Our clinical services must be top notch! But you can’t just offer those – you’ve got to go out and address the root cause of what makes people sick.’”
This is the inspiration for the many outreach programs NorthLakes has developed over the years. A few examples are providing free or very low-cost vegetables through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program; giving books to children to take home at every possible doctor visit; working with several county jails through our Re-entry Program, which supports successful transitions back into the community for folks exiting jail. Also, NorthLakes provides mental health and dental services in our largest outreach program: school based services.
NorthLakes Community Clinic collaborates with area school districts in offering mental health services in a confidential setting within the school building. Services are provided during the most convenient times for the students based on their course schedule. Therapists work with the school and family to arrange consistent meeting times for the student that will not interfere with academic success. We currently counsel in 6 school districts, with approximately 80 students. This program is growing quickly. The number of schools requesting services is significant, and NorthLakes is working to recruit therapists as well as to engage other agencies to partner in providing care for children in schools.
“It has been estimated that more than 54 million school hours are lost yearly because of dental disease.” (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov)
Our program includes oral health education, oral health assessment by a Registered Dental Hygienist and fluoride varnish or sealant applications. Currently, NorthLakes serves well over 120 schools and other programs, with more than 11,000 children receiving service. Also, aware that our seniors often suffer significant pain and difficulties eating due to poor oral hygiene, NorthLakes serves residents at several area nursing homes.
Dental screenings indicated that there was high need for restorative dental services, especially in our southern service area. So NorthLakes partnered with Polk County Health and Human Services to house a Dentist and her team in the County Health Department building. Serving patients with Medicaid or who qualify for NorthLakes’ Sliding Fee Scale. Dr. Kathleen Bergman-Mattison (DDS) offers services four days per week for children and adults.
NorthLakes, led by its Consumer Board of Directors, is committed to continuing to invest in our communities, offering services where patients live, work and go to school.
NorthLakes provides care to those with Medicaid and Medicare, those with private insurance (such as Anthem/Blue Cross, Security Health, and many others) and those without insurance. We also provide a Sliding Fee Scale available to all patients who qualify based on income level, regardless of insurance status.
NorthLakes Community Clinic has 11 clinic locations in Ashland, Balsam Lake, Hayward, Iron River, Minong, Turtle Lake, and Washburn. NorthLakes locations offer: medical, dental, behavioral health counseling including substance use disorder counseling, recovery services, chiropractic, pediatric speech therapy, pediatric occupational therapy, and prescriptions for patients. Clinics are open Monday through Friday. For more information visit http://northlakesclinic.org. NLCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.