Follow The Republic:
WellConnect, a new approach to health care offered by Columbus Regional Health, was designed to encourage downtown residents and workers to stop in and ask questions.
“Health care is pretty confusing on a good day,” said Kurt Ellis, vice president of health system operations for CRH. “Our mission is to help them navigate and access the system.”
The office, across from the Bartholomew County Courthouse, will have four connections specialists available to answer a range of questions — at no cost — related to health care.
Colorado Weliever, WellConnect coordinator, said they will be prepared for such questions as “How can I find a primary-care physician?” to “How can I get assistance for my ill parents who are visiting from overseas?”
Many of the questions were ones that surfaced during focus groups and surveys of downtown workers and residents during the past two years as CRH designed the clinic, said Jim Bickel, CRH chief executive officer.
Weliever said the connections specialists are unsure of all of the types of questions they will receive, but they have resources to be able to connect with others to find answers.
She added that some downtown workers are new to Columbus or the country and might just need help learning the basics or they might have complex issues that require a greater level of expertise.
“We won’t just hand them a piece of paper with a list of resources. We might make calls with them, or give them a list of resources and follow up with them later,” Weliever said.
Bickel said too often people don’t access the health care system until they become ill, but CRH wants to change that.
“We want to establish a relationship before they need us,” Bickel said.
In the back area of the WellConnect facility is a 40-by-24-foot, multifunctional room that will be used for wellness classes, cooking demonstrations and health education sessions.
Free cooking demonstrations will be available during lunch hours beginning in January, and free exercise classes will be available this month.
At this point, Bickel said, they don’t anticipate parking to be an issue because most downtown workers and residents, the target market for the facility, already have parking spaces.
But if parking becomes an issue, Bickel said they would look for a solution.
He added that the space inside WellConnect also can be changed, as well.
If after six months, they learn they should address another need, they are prepared to make a switch.
“We won’t have all of the answers,” Bickel said. “That’s why we’ve designed the space to be flexible.”
Don't settle for a preview.
Subscribe today to see the full story!
All comments are moderated before posting. Your email address must be verified with Disqus in order for your comment to appear.
View our commenting guidelines and FAQ's here.
All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.