Defiance Cares Free Clinic marks third anniversary serving local residents

August 7, 2014

 

DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Defiance Cares Free Clinic observes its third anniversary in September. The clinic provides free primary health care to residents of Defiance County who have no medical insurance or who have a minimum $5,000 deductible through their health insurance.

In July, the clinic reached a milestone by serving its 300th patient. It is a partnership of Mercy Defiance Hospital, ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital, Mercy Defiance Clinic and Defiance College's non-profit organization Project 701. The management team includes a medical director, nursing advisor from each hospital, and student managers from the college. It is believed to be one of the first-ever, student-led free clinics in the nation.

The clinic is open the third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon in the medical office at 1018 Ralston Ave., Defiance, in the North Pointe Commons. Patients are served on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Mercy and ProMedica physicians, physician assistants and nurses volunteer their time to staff the monthly clinic. Defiance College provides non-medical volunteers, typically students, who staff the reception area, process information (forms are available in both English and Spanish), and escort patients. Students also shadow doctors, nurses and a social worker, giving opportunities to learn first-hand from health care professionals. During the summer, college faculty and staff and community members volunteer their time to fill in for students. All non-medical volunteers undergo orientation before the clinic opens.

Basic medical services often include point of care onsite testing (glucose, urinalysis, pregnancy tests), prescriptions and vouchers for blood tests and x-rays. Social work services range from housing assistance, food pantry assistance, sign-up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act, counseling, and referrals to social service agencies.

In its first three years, the Defiance Cares Free Clinic has had nearly 700 patient check-ins. It has served approximately one in every six uninsured adults in Defiance County. Nearly 300 vouchers have been issued for x-rays or blood tests. Most common diagnoses include hypertension, diabetes and pain.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering 35 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is www.defiance.edu.

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