The Journal Gazette
Monday, November 04, 2019 1:00 am

Five questions for Angie Zaegel

President/CEO, Neighborhood Health

1 Neighbor-hood Health Clinics just celebrated its 50th anni-versary. Why was it established?

In 1969, the Fort Wayne Medical Society, along with a group of volunteer doctors, opened a Well Baby Clinic named Three Rivers Neighborhood Health Services that launched as a voluntary health care program intended to promote well-child visits. The motivation behind creating such a place,was to assure that the children of low-income families were able to receive proper health care. Many families were referred by the health department, school nurses, or others for physical exams and immunizations for children from infancy to 6 years old. Fees were based on ability to pay.

In its first year, the Well Baby Clinic examined approximately 18,000 children, and before the end of 1969, it was announced that Three Rivers Neighborhood Health Services would expand over the next few years to offer prenatal care and family planning. In 1994, Three Rivers Neighborhood Health Services was reincorporated and assumed the name Neighborhood Health Clinics, becoming independent of the Fort Wayne Medical Society. Today, Neighborhood Health provides comprehensive medical, dental, optometry, behavioral health and other supportive services for the entire family. Neighborhood Health is also the Women's, Infant, and Children nutritional supplemental program provider for Allen, DeKalb, and Noble counties.


2 Whom do you serve?

Neighborhood Health is accepting new patients, so everyone is welcome! We have on staff 25 physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists and optometrist who are licensed and trained to care for the entire family. Most of our patients reside in the south/central part of Fort Wayne. However, we do have patients that live in the surrounding counties. As a federally qualified health center, we offer sliding-fee discounts and affordable payment plans for low-income patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Neighborhood Health also accepts Medicaid, Medicare and other commercial insurance. In 2018, we served 18,774 patients through 52,450 medical, dental and optometry visits.


3 What role do local medical professionals serve?

Many people think that because we started off as a volunteer physician clinic that we remain so today. It's actually quite the opposite.

We now have approximately 160 employees and a small number of volunteers. Ideally, we want patients to see us as their medical home and establish an ongoing patient/provider relationship. Neighborhood Health still relies upon local medical professionals in two specific areas, prenatal/obstetric and specialty care. Since 1974, Neighborhood Health has partnered with the Fort Wayne Medical Education Program, the local residency program, to provide prenatal and obstetrics care. The residents along with a supervising faculty member provide prenatal care at Neighborhood Health three half days a week. Neighborhood Health has a referral service program that connects our chronically ill or more complicated patients with local specialists such as cardiologists, oncologists, oral surgeons, etc.


4 Are there ways Fort Wayne residents can support the clinics?

We are always trying to raise community awareness about the services we offer, especially for the uninsured or underinsured. Residents can help us out by simply following our social media channels and sharing with friends and family, especially if you know someone in need of health care services. If someone is interested in getting involved at Neighborhood Health, we want to build a more robust volunteer program in 2020.


5 Tell us about the name change for Neighborhood Health Clinics.

Earlier this year, our board of directors completed a rebrand project. In the end, we decided to not legally change our name but drop “clinics” for marketing purposes. The design of our new logo represents a new era for Neighborhood Health. It has an updated, modern, but classy look, while also providing a welcoming feeling. We kept the blue that is in our existing logo and added colors that are often associated with health and hope. The icon represents our major areas of service: medical, dental, optometry and behavioral health. The abstract “petals” overlap in the center – representing our holistic approach to health and comprehensive services all under one roof. The font lettering was thoughtfully selected with the lowercase “neighborhood” evoking a friendly, inviting feel with the uppercase “HEALTH” conveying strength as a health care network, shedding the stigma of Neighborhood Health being the “poor clinic.” It's worth mentioning that the WIC program has its own statewide logo which we feel will complement our new “Neighborhood Health” logo.

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