Health Care in Riverwest

by Robin Beard If you are like me, not established in your career and hopping from job to job, you have probably found yourself without health insurance at one time or another. In my experience as soon as I found myself uninsured, some mystery ailment would strike. If you ever find yourself in this situation, or if you would like to confine your dental and health business to the neighborhood, the following providers are here to serve you: Meinhardt Dental Clinic Address: 2377 N. Humboldt Blvd. Phone: 264-7750 Office Hours: Mon. and Wed. 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Tuesday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday, 1-7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Insurance Accepted: No HMO’s Accepting New Patients: Yes, and if you don’t have insurance they require a down payment for service, plus a monthly payment agreement to take care of your balance. Dr. Meinhardt and his assistant Lori have been in business since 1979. According to Lori they can handle a full spectrum of dental maladies and routine care. Generally they do not accept walk ins — give a call if you are having an emergency, and they may be able to fit you in if they have had a cancellation. Riverwest Pierce Community Nursing Center Address: Located in the Franklin Pierce Elementary School, 2765 N. Fratney Street Phone: 267-4400 Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.. Call ahead for an appointment and to see if the hours deviate that day. Insurance Accepted: This clinic is set up for people without insurance; most services and some prescriptions are free. This clinic has an extensive mission statement laid out on the website for Franklin Pierce Elementary School (website was last updated in May 2002). Two primary goals are to ensure that preschool children in the Riverwest area have access to immunizations (the center is a cooperative agreement with the Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee Public Schools, and the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing) and also to ensure that residents of Riverwest have access to comprehensive primary health services. There is a nurse on staff at the center each day, with a physician available every Thursday. In the overview listed on Franklin Pierce’s site, the Center cites some disturbing statistics: Sixty-five percent of Riverwest children live in poverty, nearly double the city wide rate; the average unemployment rate in our neighborhood is 12.9%. We have many folks who don’t have the luxury of health insurance, along with their children. This clinic is able to provide primary health services for them (i.e. routine physicals and evaluations). Sayra, the assistant at the clinic, recommended that potential patients call ahead before coming in, although walk ins are accepted. MLK — Heritage Health and Dental Center Isaac Coggs Health Connection Address: 2555 N. Martin Luther King Drive, 2770 N. 5th St. Phone: (414) 372-8080 — Health Center (414) 286-8882 Phone: (414) 372-8095 — Dental CenterInsurance for both facilities: Will take just about any plan; if you are uninsured they will get you set up with a state program — if you are ineligible for a state program they will charge you based on a sliding scale (will ask you for pay stub to determine the rate if you are working – $15 is the minimum fee for a visit). I spoke with Lorena Chicoye, MD and Chief Medical Officer for both centers. She explained to me in depth what is offered at both facilities. At the MLK Facility: A walk in Urgent Care is available Monday and Thursday nights from 5 – 8 p.m. There is always an internal medicine physician and pediatrician available at that time. For routine care the center is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The center handles women’s health issues and pregnancy, along with an internal medicine and pediatrics department. There is an onsite lab, and soon a pharmacy will be open within the center. Patients need to call the main number for the MLK facility to be assessed and referred to the correct department, where they will then be given a time for an office visit (unless you want to visit during Urgent Care hours). Dr. Chicoye said most patients can be seen within two weeks of calling, which is definitely a better turn around time than many private primary care offices. The Dental Center is housed on the second floor of the facility. The turn around time for a routine appointment right now is about one month, and the center is able to accommodate some walk-in dental emergencies (you should call when they open at 8 a.m. to be added to their walk in list for the day). All of the dental chairs face large outdoor windows — very relaxing if you normally hate the dentist! At the Isaac Coggs Facility: This location caters to mainly to the older patient, along with HIV patients and those who need help from behavioral health physicians. The clinic has a full pharmacy on site, and offers many prescriptions for next to nothing for those who qualify for the Medicare waiver program. There is also a cardiology group that works closely with the clinic and a psychiatrist that specializes in child and adolescent mental health.
by Robin Beard