GFHS is proud of its strong relationships, support and active participation with local hospitals, health departments, health advisory councils, safety-nets, community assistance coalitions, workgroups, Rotaries, non-profits and many others throughout Catawba, Davidson, Gaston, Lincoln, and Iredell counties to improve health outcomes and reduce barriers to care.
Community engagement goes deeper still, and through several key initiatives, GFHS reaches into the community, helping to build relationships and engage residents, businesses and other stakeholders in active methods to implement change. Community engagement facilitates the connections between people and resources, the development of new leaders, and the integration of personal and professional goals by combining the talents, passions, and volunteer efforts of everyone involved.
GFHS is activity involved in the following community engagement initiatives:
Charitable Care Clinics
Providing comprehensive care is part of GFHS’ philosophy, and volunteers play an important role in our ability to offer this level of services to our patients. Many local volunteer providers and members of the community dedicate their time, talent and resources to help achieve this goal. GFHS is grateful for their charitable contribution and service to our organization , and their impact on improviding healthcare.
Through the help of numerous volunteer providers and members of the community, eligible GFHS patients can benefit from several specialty clinics and services offered at various locations. These services include eye exams and corrective lenses, podiatry services, women’s screening clinics, minor surgical procedures, specialty dental care, nephrology and endocrinology clinics, to name a few.
Community Centered Health
Since 2014, GFHS has partnered with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Foundation to develop a Community Centered Health (CCH) initiative in the Highland community of Gastonia, NC. The CCH model provides a framework for primary care to address individual health needs while systematically addressing upstream community conditions and social determinants of health that affect individual well-being.
Community Health Centers, like GFHS, already address a patient’s social conditions and refer patients to support services such as public housing, legal services, and food stamps. These strategies are vitally important and move us closer to a “whole person” concept of care. But in order to achieve lasting change, health care centers will need to explore incorporating community change, policy, and advocacy more systematically and comprehensively into its practices. The CCH model provides a roadmap to accomplish this task.
GFHS is one of three pilot communities in NC partnering with the BCBSNC Foundation to plan and build capacity for Community Centered Health model. We look forward to ongoing participation in this initiative, and the benefits it will inevitably bring to our community
Gaston Community Healthcare Commission
The Gaston Community Healthcare Commission’s (GCHC) primary mission is to develop a workable community-wide agenda to improve the health status of citizens in Gaston County. This work is accomplished through a network of organizations and people involved in health care access, funding, distribution and resource allocation.
GCHC was formed more than 30 years ago to address community needs through collaborative action. Success through the years has included Safe Kids for immunizations and car seat checks, Health at Home-a self-care guide, Adolescent Sexual Health (Gaston Youth Connected), a Parish Nurse program, and the Fitness and Nutrition Council.
More recently, GCHC refocused its work to three priority areas:
1) Healthy Gaston – A county-wide program aimed at developing a culture of wellness, which helps business, schools, and churches implement employee wellness programs. GFHS is proud to be a Silver Award recipient.
2) Walkability and Obesity – A workgroup focused on policy change and advocacy that will establish environments to encourage community residents to start and continue fitness and nutrition programs, ultimately preventing and reducing the incidence of obesity and chronic conditions associated with obesity (heart disease stroke, diabetes, and cancers).
3) Mental Health and Substance Abuse – A Workgroup focused on opiod addiction and the reduction of over-prescribing controlled substances by medical providers
GFHS has and continues to be an engaged member and supporter of GCHC. Today, GFHS is one of four GCHC primary funding partners.
More information about the GCHC can be found here.
Outreach and ACA Enrollment Assistance
GFHS engages in community events and initiatives throughout Catawba, Davidson, Gaston, Lincoln, and Iredell counties. A dedicated Outreach Team works with schools, churches, non-profits, and many volunteers to provide education and information about healthier lifestyles, GFHS’ medical, dental, behavioral health services and other partner support services in their communities. Through health fairs, local and regionally sponsored events, health screenings and health education are provided to hundreds of residents.
GFHS’ Affordable Care (ACA) Outreach and Enrollment team also works with community partners in all of GFHS’ service areas to provide the public with information about health insurance requirements, and assists consumers in applying f for insurance coverage during open enrollment and special enrollment periods.
The Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), a program of the NC Department of Insurance, counsels Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers about Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and long-term care insurance. GFHS’ SHIIP coordinators, along with several volunteers, engage in numerous community events at senior living communities, churches, and more, providing free and unbiased education and assistance regarding Medicare health care insurances and supplements.