Vegas in the Valley

IF YOU love great food, excellent company, and enjoy supporting local charitable and humanitarian good works then make your reservations soon to attend the Wheeling Health Right Auxiliary’s major fund-raiser, “Vegas in the Valley – the 18th Annual Chef’s Auction” on Friday May 6 at the Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling.

The evening’s festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a staple of the annual fund-raising event: the Silent Auction. Bidding will close on these items at 7 p.m.

Cocktails can be enjoyed by guests from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. as well.

Dinner will begin at 7 p.m., and will be accompanied by the always successful and highly anticipated live auction also getting under way at that same time.

“Items auctioned during the live portion of the event are generally considered to have a value of $500 or more,” explained Katie Brown, longtime executive director of Wheeling Health Right.

Brown offered few exact details concerning any of the auction items not wanting to give away too many particulars of what goodies will be on hand to temp event guests, but reflected on the popularity of both events from previous Chef’s Auctions.

Previous Live Auction segments have proven to provide bidders with access to top shelf quality items, and tickets to special events and exclusive vacation and holiday venues.

Included in some of the higher valued items bid on at previous events have been various luxury items, fine jewelry, vacation and getaway trips, unique opportunities to have the culinary wizards from among the participating restaurants come to your home to prepare and share items from among their signature creations.

Brown explained that the items to be auctioned during the silent auction will range from the traditional to the unusual, and from delicate and finely crafted one of a kind items to those with enjoy almost universal appeal.

Donations of actionable items are still being welcomed.

Details of how to get them into the hands of Health Right in time to be included in the event’s auctions simply call Dee Phillips, the organization’s special event coordinator and volunteer coordinator. Phillips can be reached at 304-233-9323.

The fund raising benefit is hosted by The Wheeling Health Right Auxiliary.

The Vegas theme for the evening’s activities promises to virtually guarantee guests will have a great time sampling the exciting fare being planned and prepared for patrons by chefs from participating businesses drawn from across the region who look forward to the yearly “friendly competition” — and its tallied results.

Organizers expect to have as many as 20 restaurants from across the region represented, each one trying to outdo the next in the hope of gaining the first place winner’s seat at the top of the competitor’s roster.

This year’s event will include the following participants teams and businesses.

The Cafe’ Burress team from Penn Street, Wheeling will be led by Chef James Burress.

Representing Centre Cup Coffee of Market Street in Wheeling will be Theresa Childers.

The team from Dad’s Sweet Tooth, now of Yorkville, will be led by Beth DeVault.

The team entry from Kirke’s Homemade Ice Cream of St. Clairsville will be headed by Kirke Porterfield.

The team from The Metropolitan Citi Grill located on Chapline Street in Wheeling will be led by Chef David Wohlfeil.

The team from Oliver’s Pies of Wheeling’s Centre Market, will be guided by Jim Oliver.

The team entering from the Quaker Steak & Lube Restaurant of Satterfield Road in The Highlands will be led by Michael F. Fleischauer.

Leslie Antonic will be leading the team from Ruttenbucks Grille, located near The Highlands in Wheeling.

The Salsa Cafe restaurant, located on Carmel Road near Edgington Lane in Wheeling will be guided through the competition by Patty Tiu.

The team representing Silver Chopsticks, located on National Road in Wheeling, will be headed by Phoung Ngeyen.

Charlie Schlegel will be heading up the team entry from The Alpha Club located on Carmel Road in Wheeling.

The team entry from Wesbanco Arena on 14th Street in Wheeling will be led by Denny Magruder.

The team representing Wheeling Coffee and Spice, also found on 14th Street in Wheeling will be headed by Mary Ann Lokner.

Representing Wheeling Island Hotel and Casino will be a team spearheaded by Chef Chris Matta.

The team entering as representatives of Wheeling and Oglebay Parks will be guided by Brian Burkley.

Heading up the team from The Wild Wild West will be Chef Craig Aubrey.

A team will also be participating from the Wheeling- based Figaretti’s Restaurant.

There is no other program like The Wheeling Health Right, and thanks to the unstable regional and national economies the need for access to healthcare services has and is increasingly at an unprecedented pace, according to Brown.

“All of our services are provided to our clients free-of-charge. Donations to Wheeling Health Right, whether directly or through the work of our auxiliary, allow us to continue to realize our potential as your community supported free clinic,” she said. “Patients do not receive services through the organization’s clinic unless rigorous screening requirements have first been met.”

“The reason for the screening is to make sure they meet our eligibility criteria and do not have access to health care through traditional methods,” she offered.

Approximately 25 percent of clients seen at Wheeling Health Right are Medicare patients.

“They are eligible to receive medication at the clinic when they qualify for our services,” she explained.

In the face of today’s complex and expensive healthcare environment, being able to make care and needed medications available at an average cost of only $25 per patient visit is exceptional.

“We know how to stretch each and every dollar to provide the care that matters most to those who need it,” said Brown candidly.”The average yearly cost of health care and medication for each client at the clinic is $75. “A family of four can receive their needed health care and medication for only $300 per year.

Here is a brief look at the pieces of the Wheeling Health Right partnering puzzle that make the unique organization function effectively and efficiently.

Nurse Practitioner Clinics – All patients first see the Nurse Practitioner at the clinic for evaluation. They all have prescriptive authority and practice under a collaborative agreement with a local physician.

Physician Clinics – Local physicians volunteer at the clinic to see patients. We also have more than 125 area physicians who volunteer to see our patients in their offices and in the hospitals.

Specialty Clinics – Several local specialists provide clinic hours at our site for Endocrinology, Cardiac, Podiatry and other services.

Social Services – Assist patients in applying for needed benefits. This includes Disability, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Utility Assistance, Vocational Rehabilitation and other needed benefits.

Health Education – Our health educators provide one-on-one and group programs relating to all health education needs. Groups include smoking cessation, healthy lifestyle, diabetic education, cooking schools, etc.

Family Planning Program – Family planning services are provided including counseling and medication.

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program – Wheeling Health Right is one of the largest provider of BCCSP services in the state of West Virginia. Breast and cervical cancer screening is very important for uninsured and underinsured women. Early detection is critical in the treatment of these two cancers.

Individual and Group Counseling – Groups include Anxiety, Depression, Addiction Recovery, Stress Management and Grief Counseling.

Ohio Valley Medical Center Residents – Residents from the Internal Medicine and Family Practice Program at Ohio Valley Medical Center are on site every Wednesday providing care for our patients.

Volunteer Program – Volunteers are always needed and welcomed at the clinic. Volunteers come from all walks of life – physicians, nurses, pharmacists, secretaries, file clerks, receptions and so on.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the clinic is invited to contact Phillips at 302-233-9323.

Wheeling Health Right Auxiliary – This group of volunteers help coordinate fund raising events for the clinic. This group meets on an as needed basis. More information about the auxiliary is also available from Phillips.

The organization was established in 1985 by a group of concerned citizens, physicians and churches seeking to serve the healthcare needs of the undeserved in the region.

Through Wheeling Health Right the uninsured, underinsured and working poor of the area are provided access to primary health care services, medication, mental health services, dentistry, health education and prevention services. During fiscal year 2009-2010 these services were provided to 19,125 low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents of the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and Belmont County, Ohio, shared Brown.

Approximately 212,500 prescriptions were provided during that time period, as were some 90,000 patient encounters.

Each year Wheeling Health Right patients receive more than $9 million dollars of in-kind patient services from Belmont Community Hospital, East Ohio Regional Hospital, Northwood Health Systems, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Reynolds Memorial Hospital, Sistersville General Hospital, Wetzel County Hospital, and Wheeling Hospital.

The organization receives more than $20.1 million dollars of free medication from pharmaceutical companies each year for its patients.

More than 120 physician volunteers see patients in their offices and in area hospitals.

Physicians volunteer to come to the clinic regularly to see Wheeling Health Right patients

Coordinated efforts are made to assure a close working relationship is maintained with all other social service agencies in the region to ensure patients can access the services they need.

“Wheeling health Right is the health care provider of last resort for thousands ,” said Brown, noting however, that on average patients are seen 10 times in the course of a year.

The vital care made available to those in need through Health right reaches into all communities and neighborhoods, as is proven by these recent annual service numbers provided by Wheeling health right officials.

Patients seen during fiscal year 2009-2010 included 3,542 from Belmont County; 7,186 reside in Ohio County; 3,743 live in Marshall County; 1,646 in Wetzel; 677 in Tyler; 637 in Brooke; and 1,081 in other counties of West Virginia..

When it comes to the financial total of this service Wheeling Health Right estimated services provided reached $1.3 million for Ohio Valley patients during the last year.

Funds raised through the 18th Annual Chef’s Auction will directly support these local services.

Loccisano may be reached at kloccisano@timesleaderonline.