Umpqua Community Health Center provided almost $750,000 in charity care in the last fiscal year — about twice as much as its been able to provide each of the last five years — according to a recently completed audit.

The charity care is medical, dental and behavioral health care provided free or at a reduced cost to individuals who have limited income or no income. The nonprofit organization provides care on a sliding scale, offering health services like wellness checks and immunizations based on a person’s ability to pay.

The audit performed by independent accounting firm Jones & Roth showed the clinic provided nearly $750,000 in uncompensated care in fiscal year 2017-18. In the last five years, the clinic has averaged about $366,000 in free or reduced cost care to residents of Douglas County totaling about $1.83 million in uncompensated care.

“This last year, we achieved 40 percent of the entire five years combined,” KC Bolton, CEO of UCDC, said. “It was managing expenses well enough to where we can see patients, and for some of those services that are expensive that they would do somewhere else, we’re able to handle it here, and either reduce costs or write it off completely.”

Bolton said the clinic didn’t see double the number of patients, but it was able to do more for the patients it did see, and with less, which allowed them to write off more of the expenses. But he expects the amount of the expenses to continue to grow.

“As a Federally Qualified Health Center, UCHC takes great pride in its ability to offer important health services at reduced or no cost to members of the community whose financial circumstances would otherwise prohibit them from receiving care,” Bolton said. “I’m proud of the team, but that’s what we do, so it’s kind of tempered excitement.”

Part of the increase, he said, could be that they are seeing a shift in patient types with more Oregon Health Plan, Medicaid or people with no insurance at all coming in.

UCHC gets money from insurance and as a Federally Qualified Health Center, it receives funds from the Health Resource and Services Administration, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable in underserved areas.

Despite more than doubling the charity care, UCHC has been able to remain economically stable.

“We had a very solid financial year last year,” Bolton said.

The health center serves nearly 14,000 insured and uninsured Douglas County children and adults, averaging more than 45,000 patient visits annually.

Founded in 1991 as the Open Door Clinic, Umpqua Community Health Center provides patient-centered, accessible medical, dental and behavioral healthcare, from five clinic sites in Roseburg, Myrtle Creek, Sutherlin and Glide, including a teen health center located on the campus of Roseburg High School.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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