Long, Successful Career Helps Philanthropist Support his Community

Author

Healthcare Network

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Healthcare Network

Posted on

Apr 17, 2024

Book/Edition

Florida - Southwest

Share This

Jerry F. Nichols is a stellar example of continuing to work and support his community long after many have retired.

At age 79, he continues to serve as full-time executive vice president of Brown & Brown Insurance and financial representative for Northwestern Mutual. Also, for many decades, Nichols has quietly set an inspiring example through philanthropy, dedicated to improving the lives of children and working adults in Southwest Florida.

Combining his career success and philanthropy is something Nichols was recognized for five times by the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. Nichols was also named a Junior Achievement Hall of Fame Laureate, which honors influential, visionary leaders who have significantly impacted the educational landscape for youth in Southwest Florida in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.

Late last year, Nichols solidified this commitment to the community by making the first major donation to Healthcare Network’s capital campaign. This donation will support the construction of the nonprofit organization’s planned 20,000-square-foot health center in the Orangetree area of Golden Gate Estates, ensuring essential access to affordable healthcare for the community.

“The Orangetree area has grown over 75% in the last several years, which makes the lack of healthcare services alarming,” said Jamie Ulmer, Healthcare Network president and CEO. “Jerry’s continued support of our mission is a testament to his generosity and commitment to making Collier County a healthier place for everyone.”

Located in northeastern Collier County between Ave Maria and Golden Gate, the planned health center is projected to provide care to nearly 30,000 patients in its first year. The array of comprehensive services will include pediatrics, adult and senior care, obstetrics and gynecology, dental care, x-ray and lab, behavioral health counseling and a drive-thru pharmacy.

“I believe health care is vital to keeping any community thriving,” Nichols said. “Everyone should have access to essential primary care services. Supporting the construction of the new health center means that Orangetree residents, including vulnerable children and seniors, have access to affordable and comprehensive care without needing to leave their own community.”

In 2018, Nichols received Healthcare Networker of the Year Award for his pivotal role in supporting the improvement of pediatric care in Collier County for thousands of area children. Then, he was recognized as the lead donor for the Nichols Community Health Center, a 50,000-square-foot primary health care facility in the heart of the Golden Gate community that opened in 2020. This center significantly enhanced essential healthcare services for the largest underserved population in Collier County. Along with the Nichols Pediatric Center at the YMCA of Collier County, it reinforces Nichols’ vision of making quality healthcare accessible to all children and their families in Southwest Florida.

Nichols has not only made financial contributions but has also dedicated his time to numerous causes, primarily focusing on local children and education. Some of the many not-for-profit organizations supported by him include the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, the Community Foundation of Collier County, the Ronald McDonald House of SWFL, and Healthcare Network’s Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. In addition, Nichols provides support to various Lee Health programs, including Golisano Children’s Hospital, Golisano Children’s Health Center in Naples, and Golisano’s Pediatric Behavioral Health Center in Bonita Springs.

 “I have focused my efforts and financial support on organizations that have an impact on children’s lives through education, access to health care, and safe environments that help them grow and develop into their full potential,” Nichols said. “When children aren’t healthy, they’re not reaching their full potential.”

   Healthcare Network is actively seeking contributions for its capital campaign with the goal of raising $15 million. Community support is pivotal to achieving this goal and ensuring that every resident in Collier County has access to essential primary care services. Visit HealthcareSWFL.org to learn more about Healthcare Network's mission and contribute to the capital campaign.

 By Gabrielle O’Boyle, director of public relations and marketing, Healthcare Network

Other Articles You May Like

Understanding The Maze of Florida's Long Term Care Medicaid Programs

As a Certified Senior Advisor specializing in Medicaid representation in Florida, our staff goes breathless attempting to explain the differences between the various long term care Medicaid programs offered here in Florida.  In this article, I will attempt to cover as many aspects of these programs as possible and assist you through this maze of confusion. Long Term Care Programs: 1.   ICP - Institutional Care Program (Nursing Home Medicaid) This  program is the one that most of the inquiries to our office are calling about.  ICP is for nursing home residents who need assistance in paying the high cost associated with this level of care.  The private pay cost of this type of care can range anywhere from $9,000 to over $15,000 per month.  This program is for those who possess a need of assistance with at least 3 activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, feeding oneself) or are a hospice patient in addition to residing in a skilled nursing facility.2.  Hospice - For individuals with a life expectancy of 6 months or less.            While Hospice services are primarily covered by Medicare, if a person resides in a nursing facility and are applying for Medicaid, hospice would assist in managing the care even in the nursing facility.3.  HCBS - Home and Community Based Services (Waiver programs)A.  Hope Pace - All-inclusive medical program that assists people who are living independently.  The individual is expected to use the medical professionals that Hope Pace contracts with and recipient would attend their health center at least one day per week to see doctors there.  Transportation is provided in addition to many other benefits. This program provides supportive services in order to allow the applicant to maintain their independence and the goal is to avoid placement for as long as possible.  Hope Pace is a pilot program and not available in all counties.  For more information, their phone number is 239-985-6400.B.  Medicaid Waiver for care at home, daycare or in an Assisted Living Facility-These programs are funded and have a waiting list which is managed by a State agency called the Area Agency on Aging.  Each person who calls to be added to the waiting list is given a phone assessment appointment to be called by the agency at a later date and asked a series of questions. The phone assessment takes about 45 minutes and afterward the recipient is given a priority score based on physical need for care and is placed on the list based on their priority score. Those with the most need for assistance with activities of daily living are given a higher priority score than others with less need for physical help. The goal is to avoid nursing home placement, so those at a higher risk of possible nursing home placement are moved to a  higher position than those that are more independent.  They will usually ask financial questions as well during the phone assessment. Phone number for Area Agency on Aging is 239-652-6900.   Qualification and Procedure:          All long-term care Medicaid programs have the same income and asset limitations.  The applications are submitted using an online portal through the Department of Children and Families (DCF). You may also fax in a paper application to the department, but submitting online gives access to information much more efficiently than waiting for notifications to come via U.S. Mail. Since you would be using the online portal, you may log in whenever you would like to check on your case and the online portal allows changes to be reported more easily and notices may be viewed upon generation.  This application process is comprehensive in terms of all financial aspects of the applicants situation in order for the caseworker to determine eligibility. The Medicaid applicant income limit is currently $2,829 per month and increases each year commensurate with Social Security cost of living adjustments.  The individuals gross income is what is counted which is the amount prior to any deductions such as Medicare or other health insurance premiums, tax withholding, union dues, life insurance premiums, etc.  If the applicants gross countable income exceeds the limitation, they would need to obtain the assistance of an elder law attorney to provide a remedy.  Isenhour Senior Services is not a law firm, but would be able to offer a list of competent attorneys to contact for the purpose of legal needs as they arise.  Allowable assets may include Florida homestead with a maximum value of $713,000 for a single individual and unlimited value if a spouse or minor child is living in the home; other income producing real estate that is producing fair market value income (net income after calculated expenses is counted as income); additional property that is listed for sale at fair market value; vehicle of any value; IRAs if there is an income distribution in place; Irrevocable funeral arrangements of any value; An additional $2,500 in other burial funds which can be in the form of savings, life insurance cash value, or other assets that the value can be verified; and up to $2,000 in other liquid or non-liquid assets.          For nursing home Medicaid applicants, if there is a spouse living in the community, the community spouses resource limit is $154,140 in addition to the previously mentioned items.  For nursing home applicants, there is usually a dollar amount that is to be paid from their income called a patient responsibility.  The patient responsibility is paid to the nursing home and Medicaid pays the remaining balance of the charges.  The applicant is allowed to keep $160 for personal needs and enough to cover any medical premiums such as dental or health insurance, hearing aid leases, etc..           When there is a community spouse living at home or in a private pay assisted living facility and their ill spouse is applying for nursing home Medicaid, their information is also included in the applicants application for benefits and the community spouse may possess the ability to retain some of the applicant's income in order to meet their shelter expenses in the community.  Currently the State of Florida allows the community spouse to retain a minimum of $2,465 from both spouse's income sources in order to meet their needs in the community.  If the spouse has excess shelter costs, such as assisted living expenses, mortgage, rent or other high shelter expenses, they are allowed to keep more of the applicant's income, with a maximum total income allowance of $3,854 per month.  This amount includes both spouses gross monthly income.  If the community spouse needs even more than this amount to cover their expenses in the community, they may wish to seek legal advice for a court order for spousal support.         For the Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver program, once the applicants name has come up on the Area Agency on Agings waiting list and the application is submitted and approved (usually a 60-day time period), then benefits begin the following month. The Medicaid recipient would then need to choose a managed care provider which would be the one that the facility they are preferring accepts.  That provider would contribute up to somewhere between $1300 and $1600 per month toward the charges after the recipient has contributed their income minus allowances.  The rest of the ALFs charges would still need to be paid so that the facility still receives full payment.  If the recipients income is not sufficient to cover the remaining charges and the family cannot cover the shortfall, the recipient may need to enter a nursing home if they qualify physically for that level of care, since nursing home Medicaid only expects the applicant to pay in less than their monthly income as their patient responsibility.  This same Medicaid Waiver program can assist with homecare hours and other services which would help them to remain in their home if that is a safe decision.          For all long-term care programs other than Hospice, there is a physical level of care evaluation that is completed by the Department of Elder Affairs which would determine if the individual meets the physical need of the program for which they are applying.  This evaluation is requested by sending a 3008 form that has been completed and signed by the individuals physician along with additional medical records including medication list to the Department of Elder Affairs.  An assessor would then make arrangements for an evaluation to be performed wherever the individual is residing.  The final report is then provided to the Department of Children and Families, and added to the financial documentation already sent in by the applicant and then the DCF caseworker is able to open the benefits for which the applicant had applied if all qualifications have been met.          If the individual had applied for nursing home Medicaid, the effective date of the Medicaid approval would be the 1st of the month that the application was submitted, providing the individual was eligible beginning in that month.  The waiver programs are forward-moving programs in that benefit begins the 1st of the following month after approval is granted and  enrollment in a Medicaid managed care plan.  The plan that is chosen would provide a case manager who would contact the recipient and/or family to discuss the applicants needs and plan of care.  The case manager would also remain involved in the clients ongoing care needs.         In order to continue ongoing benefits, the applicant must submit a renewal of benefits each year with the Department of Children and Families and is also responsible for reporting any changes that occur along the way,  such as changes in living arrangements, income, expenses, assets, etc.  The physical level of care evaluation does not need to be repeated each year, only the financial piece.         So, as you can see, the web of confusion that is created by Floridas Medicaid long term care system is forever in need of explanation.  What I have provided here is a plethora of information to comprehend and we are here for you to help you through this maze.  Christine IsenhourPresidentIsenhour Senior Services 239-542-7366

How Men (and Women) Can Live Longer

By Dr. Reinier Ramirez The pandemic resulted in many unfortunate outcomes, one of which was a drop in the average life expectancy for men. The number, at 76.1 years, was the lowest since 1996.While COVID-19 accounted for nearly 74% of the decline of life expectancy in 2019 to 2020, it was not the leading cause of death for men. That distinction falls on conditions that have been prevalent for decades:      Heart disease: Since 1950, heart disease has consistently been the leading cause of death in the U.S for both men and women.      Cancer: Cancer-related deaths are higher for men than women, mainly from lung, prostate, pancreatic and colon cancer.      Stroke: Strokes and stroke deaths tend to affect women more than men. However, more than 62% of these deaths are for people 65 and over.      Obesity: Obesity is closely related to an increased risk of severe outcomes from heart disease and cancer, further complicating the health landscape.  There is some good news. If men act immediately, its not too late to improve their health, as well as their life expectancy. Some simple steps can help reduce the risk of death from all the above conditions (and more):      Quit smoking: Tobacco use is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and many other diseases.      Eat healthily: Diets should include more fruit, vegetables, fiber and fish. Cut back on saturated fats and red meat.      Get moving: Increase your heart rate with 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.      Watch your weight: Inflammation caused by extra weight is associated with bad health.      Monitor (and manage, if necessary) the measurables: Cholesterol and blood pressure are easy to track.      Drink less alcohol: High consumption has been linked to colon and rectal cancer, among other diseases.The best advice? Go to the doctor for regular checkups and screening tests. Many diseases can be treated if caught early. In addition, physicians partner with patients to create an action plan focused on better overall health and wellness.COVID-19 offered a good lesson for men that can be applied to overall longevity researchers believe one of the reasons COVID-19 caused men to get sicker and die often more than women was compliance. Simply put, women were found to be more willing to follow public policy measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, than men. No surprise, women are also more likely to get regular health screenings and actually listen to the expert advice of physicians. In 2024, many people have backed off COVID-19 precautions, but they are still important to you. Most deaths from the disease are in people 65 and over, with the highest mortality rate from the disease in adults aged 85 and over.Another factor that impacts longevity is accidents. While unintentional injuries, like car accidents, drug overdoses and drownings, are a more common cause of death for people under the age of 45, falls and accidental overdoses are more common for older people.Some of the same recommendations for reducing risk for other diseases apply for reducing the risk of accidents:      Improve strength, balance and coordination with exercise to reduce the risk of falling.      Drink less, as alcohol contributes to approximately 40% of residential fire deaths. It can also lead to falls and motor vehicle crashes.      Get your eyes checked once per year to reduce your risk of falls and vehicular accidents.      Improve lighting for easier navigation to reduce the risk of falls.      Reduce your risk of residential fire death by installing smoke alarms and testing the devices once per month.      Review medications with your healthcare provider. Make sure you understand what drugs can and cannot be mixed with your medications.Mens Health Month was started in 1994 to increase awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment of diseases and conditions in men. Despite that added attention, many health problems among men have become worse!Become aware of the risks and what you can do to reduce them. Life is worth defying the odds.About the Author Reinier Ramirez, MD is a family care provider and the Medical Director of Adult Medicine at Healthcare Network, a nonprofit with a mission to provide quality healthcare accessible to everyone, regardless of job, income, or insurance. Visit HealthcareSWFL.org for more information.

Exploring the Differences Between Independent and Assisted Living

After retirement, life becomes an open canvas, awaiting our creativity to shape the next chapter. Just as artists select their medium, retirees too have choices to make, particularly when it comes to the style of living that best suits their needs and desires. Moving into a senior living community opens the way to a new and vibrant stage of life, whether you choose an Independent Living or an Assisted Living community. Which one is right for you? It depends on the level of support and care youre looking for and the kinds of amenities youd like.Independent Living CommunitiesCatered to individuals who can live independently without requiring assistance in their daily lives, Independent Living communities are designed for active seniors seeking a maintenance-free lifestyle and self-fulfillment. Within these communities, residents come and go as they please, and can participate in planned activities as they like. Free from the responsibilities of yard work, home repairs, and housekeeping, residents can concentrate on what matters most to them.Most residences in Independent Living communities are traditional apartments or homes, complete with in-unit laundry and full kitchens. Various services are usually provided, including:TransportationHousekeepingYard workDining optionsHome maintenanceIndependent Living support services are typically focused around convenience-related amenities, with a strong emphasis on social activities. Healthcare services and clinical staff are not part of the standard offerings in Independent Living communities.Independent Living communities typically feature on-site restaurants, communal event and activity spaces, hair salons, and fitness facilities. The Gallery tailors programs to residents unique interests, offering a wide variety of experiences such as ceramics classes, wine tasting, and off-site excursions. The emphasis is on providing a vibrant social life that enriches existing hobbies and introduces new interests.Assisted Living CommunitiesAssisted Living communities are designed for seniors who need assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) but do not require significant medical care or 24-hour supervision. The Gallerys Assisted Living communities offer:Meals prepared by an in-house Executive ChefLaundry and housekeepingAssistance with bathing and getting dressedMedication management24-hour clinical staff on sitePet-friendly environmentsTransportation services(Actual food offered at The Gallery)In Assisted Living you have consistent in-home support from caregivers and nurses. The Gallerys senior living communities are made for aging in place meaning if you find yourself needing more care and support, you can simply transition into Assisted Living from Independent Living.The Gallery CommunitiesAt The Gallery senior living communities, we believe in crafting living spaces that are more than just homestheyre vibrant canvases where every resident becomes part of a rich tapestry of community. Whether embracing the freedom of Independent Living or the support of Assisted Living, we focus on fostering connections and creativity. Our spaces are curated to inspire, with every detail reflecting our commitment to inclusivity and support. From the lively gatherings that spark new friendships to the enriching activities that ignite passions and cultivate fresh experiences, life at Gallery is a masterpiece in the making. And just like every great artwork, our communities welcome furry friends with open arms, adding another layer of joy and companionship to the tapestry of life at The Gallery Senior Living.Explore the colors of community with us today. To speak with one of our experienced Leasing Counselors, call us at 855-222-4470 or contact us online.