Nucleus Clinic hosts wine, salad, chocolate open house

Nucleus Clinic Board of Directors hosts the annual fall wine, salad and chocolate open house and benefit Thursday, October 25, 5 to 8 p.m., at the clinic’s 1323 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids location.

Serving the northern metro and surrounding community since 1971, Nucleus is the only non-profit community clinic providing reproductive health care in Anoka County.

This event is a thank you to the community, a celebration and a benefit for the clinic, according to Executive Director Becky Fink.

“For each person who values and respects access to affordable reproductive health care for women and men alike, this is the day, the place and the time to show our support for local and affordable reproductive health care services,” Fink said.

“Our services are made possible with community support and pay forward in so many ways and many, many times.”

In addition to a casual evening of salads, chocolate and wine, guests will be offered complimentary private chair massages, door prizes and a silent auction.

To comply with the directives and mandates of the Health Care Reform Act, Nucleus Clinic will need to get to where all mainstream clinics have been for years – effectively using an electronic health record.

“This year we are celebrating a true milestone in our patient care,” said Fink. “Due to an outstanding partnership with Normandale Community College, a nationally recognized leader in health information technology (HIT), Nucleus was able to provide a valuable internship for a student who graduated from its first class.”

Federal stimulus funding provided qualified IT and health care professionals this career training option for just $500, she said.

Normandale HIT intern Patti Hanson of Coon Rapids had many years of experience at Unisys and during a career change, had the opportunity to take those years of experience and learn to apply her skills to this new field, Fink said.

“This is an amazing and winning opportunity for our community, our clinic, Normandale and Patti,” she said. “We look forward to her now working with us as our paid consultant as we implement this practice changing technology.”

At the open house, Sunny Ainly, the director of health and wellness programs in Normandale’s Center for Applied Learning, will offer remarks.

According to Fink, nurse practitioners at the clinic will soon be using the EHR to guide and document the care they provide with annual exams, pap smears, testing for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy tests and confirmation examinations, and other health care relating to reproductive and sexual health.

Care is provided with sliding fee and no fee, based on income and family size, Fink said.

“Over 1,000 patients have received care with at least one visit, for over 1700 visits over the last year with an average cost of $200 per patient.” she said.

“It is a small miracle that in these times, when non-profits fail as often as not, this clinic with the support of the community and the sheer will of its leaders, have provided these sometimes life saving and life giving services for over 40 years.”

Nucleus Clinic, primarily staffed with volunteers, has a total 2012 budget of just over $230,000. Sliding fees are very low and at no cost for eligible patients, particularly those eligible for the Minnesota Family Planning Program, which is an abbreviated version of Medical Assistance.

Eligible female and male patients are assisted in applying on site for a Minnesota Health Care Program, Minnesota Family Planning (MFPP) to help cover the costs of their services.

The goal of the program is to provide birth control and reproductive health care to prevent expensive unintended pregnancy, Fink said.

Nucleus provides easy and convenient onsite MFPP enrollment with same day coverage for eligible patients, she said.

Certain services also have fees waived based on income and family size according the guidelines for the Anoka County Maternal Child Health Care Program, Fink said.

With October being recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month, Nucleus is also a provider of SAGE breast health services for women who are uninsured or underinsured funded through the Minnesota Department of Health.

“Income eligible women over 40, or who have had problem breast exams and who are in need of annual mammograms and pap smears and who have eligible incomes, have available through public health care dollars, both paps smears and mammograms,” Fink said.

“Nucleus enrolls patients  onsite and provide the annual exam then coordinates referral for mammograms. We are very pleased to be a community partner with the Minnesota Department of Health.”

Nucleus staff is also available in cooperation with Unity and Mercy hospitals to provide ongoing medical exams and treatments necessary after a women has survived a sexual assault.

For further information contact Fink at 763-755-5300.

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