A new health care option for children on Medicaid is coming soon.
The Cape Fear Clinic is pleased to announce that Anna W. Kirk, M.D., has joined the clinic staff, and we will begin offering services to children who have Medicaid insurance, as well as to uninsured children. We believe that ours is a much-needed resource, since currently there are fewer private practice options available to the Medicaid population - especially pediatric patients - in our four-county area.
We will also be seeing children of undocumented individuals, who truly have nowhere else to go for primary care.
Dr. Kirk is dually trained in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and board certified in Pediatrics. Since coming to Cape Fear Clinic earlier this year, she has worked to design, develop and implement our new pediatrics program. The clinic plans to launch this program in the coming months.
Since its inception, Cape Fear Clinic, founded as the Tileston Clinic in 1991, has provided a medical home to adults with incomes within 200 percent of the federally defined poverty level. Their children, if they are U.S. citizens, almost always have Medicaid insurance. We have long wanted to welcome those children as patients, and now we are able to do so.
Dr. Kirk comes to us with a holistic approach to giving children a healthy foundation. Here’s what she says about her role as a physician:
“A lot of what we do as pediatricians in primary care is educate. We offer support and resources. We counsel patients and families on development, prevention of chronic illness and, unfortunately more and more, on management of chronic illnesses. A lot of chronic disease up-and-coming in pediatrics and adult medicine can be improved or prevented with access to proper education and assistance in developing healthy behaviors.
“Lifelong benefits with far-reaching effects can be achieved by laying stones for this foundation very early in childhood. Healthier children are happier, more productive children who become healthier, happier, more productive adults."
We believe our entry into pediatric care comes at a critical time. According to a May 17 piece in North Carolina Health News, in addition to the poverty-related issues that affect children’s health, the opioid epidemic is a growing and dangerous factor.
The article described a May 16 Medicaid listening session hosted by the North Carolina Department of Social Services, at which pediatric professionals from New Hanover Regional Medical Center reported that 15 to 20 percent of the babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit are in withdrawal from opioids they were exposed to in utero.
Good health care can be transformative for all our patients, but it is absolutely essential for children. Children who receive regular primary care tend to do better in school, and are less apt to fall prey to acute and chronic illnesses that can impair their development.
The health care we provide to our adult Medicaid and uninsured adults – and will soon provide to children – is also a boon to the communities we serve. By keeping our patients healthy, we reduce their need to rely on the emergency departments for their primary care. We all know that when EDs must dispense routine health care services, it’s an expensive and inefficient proposition.
As we implement our new pediatrics program, Cape Fear Clinic is seeking additional funding, as well as affiliations and collaborations that can enhance our services. We can always use more volunteers, as well. If you’re interested in helping us, please call us at (910) 343-8736.
Cape Fear Clinic provides compassionate and affordable patient-centered medical, pharmacy and mental health services to low-income individuals and families in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Columbus counties, regardless of their ability to pay. Visit www.capefearclinic.org
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