Town meeting tackles health-care plight

 

At the monthly Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 7, Kerry Hydash, CEO of Family HealthCare Network, presented a rundown on the current state of the industry. She used a number of statistics to describe what is provided now (sick care) compared to what is needed (health care).

Hydash, who has worked for the federally qualified FHCN for the past five years, took over for founder and former CEO Harry Foster one year ago. Foster was a pioneer in the development of the preferred model for providing medical services to everyone once millions more of the uninsured have joined the ranks of the insured as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Foster chose Hydash to succeed his own tenure because of her strong accounting background and experience in the auditing of medical institutions. 

At the meeting, Hydash pointed out that Tulare County is among the places that needs fixing the most. She illustrated her point by showing that Tulare County ranks 49 out of 58 counties in healthcare outcomes. One out of three children in Tulare County is obese and that means higher costs for those patients who are headed for chronic illness as adults.

Providing that health care is especially challenging in a county where 23 percent are uninsured and one quarter live below the poverty line. FHCN has confronted this problem and treats anyone that seeks care, whether insured or indigent. 

FHCN also accepts all insurance policies and provides an array of services to teach their patients to be proactive in living a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyles, or behaviors, make up more than 40 percent of whether one’s outcome is sick or healthy.

Because so many don’t go to a doctor until they are sick, most of the FHCN patients have chronic conditions.

“We have to change that culture and shift more dollars to prevention,” Hydash said. “We’re planning an open house for Three Rivers and a walking club to help people here become more involved in their own health care.”

The next Town Hall will feature a candidates’ forum. It is scheduled for Monday, May 5.

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