Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: EIHC

February 19, 2019 | United Way Team

Learn how Eastern Iowa Health Center is impacting the community & working to break the cycle of poverty.

Blog_02-2019_EIHC-Joe Locke SpeakingFor 100+ years, United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) has been working to break the cycle of poverty. From education to financial stability to access to healthcare, we work alongside our funded partners to bring lasting change to East Central Iowa.

We kicked off 2019 highlighting Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) and the amazing impact they’ve had on our community. We’ll continue our Breaking the Cycle of Poverty series by learning more about Eastern Iowa Health Center (EIHC), how they’re supporting East Central Iowans, and why they’re so crucial for our community.

EIHC’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive, patient-focused care to all members of the community. Dr. Katherine (Katie) Abtahi started with EIHC in July of 2018 and has had a fulfilling experience so far.

Blog_02-2019_EIHC-Katherine-Abtahi-Web“It’s rewarding to work for an organization that is so well established with their resources. Anything that a patient would need pertaining to their health, EIHC can assist with,” said Dr. Abtahi. “There should be no barriers to a patient receiving the care they need.”

EIHC serves a wide-variety of patients. Whether they have full-coverage insurance, are under- or un-insured, or are on Medicaid, payments are determined case-by-case using a sliding scale based on income.

“We’re a federally qualified health center, so we’re going to see [a patient] regardless of their ability to pay,” said EIHC Chief Development Officer, Erin Byers Langdon.

In 2017, EIHC saw over 11,000 patients in over 47,000 visits. Of those, more than 2,000 individuals were experiencing homelessness. Although numbers are still being pulled, Langdon projected that in 2018, EIHC served over 12,000 patients in more than 50,000 visits.

“The assistance we are providing alongside our community partners is really working to break the cycle of poverty. If your health is good, your overall well-being is better—it’s all intertwined.”

Serving the entire community comes with its challenges, and the EIHC staff noticed that although they could cover the care and provide a sliding scale fee, many of their patients weren’t able to pay for their prescriptions and follow the instructions of their physician.

“Our medical social work team works really hard to identify and connect with resources in the community,” said Langdon.

Blog_02-2019_EIHC-Katie-Carpenter-WebEIHC has since started working with a prescription assistance program, part of which is funded by UWECI. By providing continuing care and addressing nonurgent healthcare needs, EIHC helps reduce the overall cost of healthcare in the community.

“There are many patients who come to us with problems they weren’t able to address before. Here we can connect them to the right resources,” said Kati Carpenter, DNP. “So many individuals would be without healthcare if it wasn’t for EIHC.”