Clinic gives boost to underinsured

GREENFIELD — Despite a chilly and windy morning, Thursday was the perfect day to open a new health clinic in Greenfield, said Hancock Regional Hospital CEO Steve Long.

The Jane Pauley Community Health Center in Greenfield opened its doors with little fanfare in December. But on Thursday morning, Jane Pauley — a 1968 graduate of Warren Central High School and prominent TV journalist for whom the clinic is named — welcomed a small crowd to the grand opening of the clinic that serves underinsured Hancock County residents.

Jane Pauley facilities treat acute health issues such as flu, colds, infections and sore throats; and chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes; and provide physical exams and assessments, immunizations, lab work and women’s services.

It’s a legacy Pauley is proud to be part of.

Though she grew up in Warren Township in Indianapolis, her father spent much of his childhood living in Greenfield.

“It is truly astonishing,” she said of the grand opening of the 10th Jane Pauley health center.

Long said the hospital is invested in improving the health and wellness of local residents, and that means providing medical care for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

The Greenfield site is the product of a partnership among Hancock Regional Hospital, Hancock Physician Health Network and the Jane Pauley Community Health Center to provide primary medical care to uninsured county residents and those on Medicaid with no access to local treatment.

“It was important for us to find a strategic partner to really intervene in the lives of the folks that are most at risk in our community,” Long said. “We could not do that on our own.”

Located in a 4,800-square-foot-facility in the strip mall that houses Chicago’s Pizza on North State Street, the clinic is equipped with 10 exam rooms, two of which are reserved for patients with behavioral health issues.

Discussion about the Greenfield clinic began nearly two years ago in response to a vast number of uninsured patients utilizing the hospital’s emergency room. Those patients often don’t have access to health care so when health issues arise, they wind up in the emergency room, which taxes its staff and resources, officials said.

The clinic fills a void in the community for Medicaid and uninsured patients seeking medical care.

The clinic is now averaging about 200 patients a month.

“It’s going very, very well,” Long said.

The Greenfield center joins nine other Jane Pauley clinics and school wellness centers in Indianapolis, Anderson and Shelbyville.

Retta Livengood, president of the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, said the business community and its employees are excited and proud to have a community health center in Greenfield.

“We cannot wait to hear the stories about how this health center will impact people’s lives in our community,” she said. “The people in each of these stories and their improved access to exceptional health care will allow them to be stronger and healthier.”

The health center opened its first facility in 2009 in Warren Township as a collaborative effort among the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Community Health Network and the Community Health Network Foundation.

Last year, those facilities treated 32,000 patients. This year, they’re budgeted to see 50,000.

Opening the 10th center is a significant achievement, Pauley said.

“I’m going to take the liberty of dedicating the ribbon to my father, Richard Pauley … who would be so proud,” she said.

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or