PROFILES IN PARADISE
Couple’s efforts will impact the Collier community for generations
I know we need health care reform, but I don’t believe a centralized government program is the solution. How can we provide health care to the disadvantaged and for those who can’t qualify or pay for health insurance?
After Nancy Lascheid joined me as a guest on my show, I realized that the Neighborhood Health Clinic is a perfect example, perhaps a national template, of how free markets and the private sector can meet uninsured health care needs. Although the clinic meets the needs of low-income, working adults, I think a similar model could work for all uninsured or disadvantaged people.
Nancy and her husband, Dr. Bill Lascheid, are the founders of the Neighborhood Health Clinic, and what they have developed with the support of our community will live for generations.
Bill is a retired dermatologist who served with the first Marine Division in Korea as a battalion surgeon and in a MASH unit in the early 1950s.
Nancy holds degrees from Allegheny College, Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional career focused primarily of emergency medicine and nursing education.
When they moved to Naples in 1982, Nancy joined Bill in his private practice.
Ba Bill also served as chief of medicine at NCH for two years and worked the eemergency department there.
Just two months after retirement from ttheir full-time Naples Dermatology ppractice in 1998, the Lascheids came up wwith the brilliant idea of a medical clinic for the working poor. They developed their concepts and a business model and sought support from friends and the community. With shared enthusiasm from financial supporters, volunteers and medical practitioners on the Paradise Coast, the clinic opened for business on April 12, 1999.
Its first location was donated by NCH Healthcare System in the now-demolished Grand Central Station commercial complex. A donor contributed funds to construct the clinic’s state-of-theart facility at 121 Goodlette-Frank Road. Continuing generosity and support of donors and the community have allowed the clinic to flourish debt-free during these difficult economic times.
In the early days, word about the clinic’s services was spread among potential patients via handbills posted in churches, laundromats, libraries and the like. Before long, word of mouth took over.
Incorporated as a nonprofit organization, the Neighborhood Health Clinic is governed by a volunteer board of directors. There is no duplication of existing local health care services.
Eight full-time employees support the volunteer efforts of 250 physicians, 100 nurses and more than 1,000 non-medical personnel.
The annual budget for the year ending Sept. 30, 2011, was just over $1 million. The clinic is funded solely by individual donations, The United Way and foundation grants. No government grants are accepted, and from every dollar of funding, 91 cents goes to patient services.
The Neighborhood Health Clinic is open Monday and Thursday evenings and alternate Saturday mornings. In a typical week, more than 200 working but uninsured Collier County adults receive care there.
The Lascheids have received numerous awards for their contributions to the community, including the Point of Light Award for the state of Florida, the National Jefferson Award for Public Service and the Partners in Medicine Award from the Florida Medical Association. This year they received the Healthcare Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naples Daily News. I realize that the Neighborhood Health Clinic creates no union jobs and doesn’t rely on the government, so it’s an aberration in the progressive scheme of things — but it keeps costs down and it works. True angels among us, Bill and Nancy Lascheid have made a significant difference on the Paradise Coast. ¦
— Bob Harden is the producer and host of “The Bob Harden Show,” which is broadcast from 7- 8 a. m. Monday- Friday on www.bobharden.com. Programs are archived on the website.
Talking points with Dr. Bill and Nancy Lascheid
Something on your mind: Just like everyone else, the economy. Besides how we personally are affected, it’s what we see in the faces of our clinic patients — so much stress and despair.
What makes you laugh? Bill: My wife. Nancy: Movies with Ben Stiller. Also our granddaughter, Maggie. She’s a riot.
What are you reading? Bill: “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer. Nancy: “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain
Something you’ll never understand: Indifference.
First high school job? Bill: A soda jerk. Nancy: Stock clerk in the shoe department at Kaufmann’s in Pittsburgh.
How do you relieve stress? Bill: Take a nap. Nancy: I make soup. The smaller I chopped the vegetables, the more you can determine my stress level. If I’ve minced the vegetables, then don’t talk to me and stay out of my way.
What the Paradise Coast needs most: Jobs.