Faith Clinic

Volunteers help heal body and soul

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Pharmacist Tracy Corbin stands inside the Faith Clinic’s pharmacy. The clinic opened in March 2016 inside the church, 620 N Cemetery Road. The Faith Clinic is for people without health insurance. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

A free medical clinic housed inside a Yukon church is benefiting its patients … both in body and soul.

The Faith Clinic is open by appointment from 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays at Trinity Baptist Church, 620 N Cemetery Road.

“We’re here to help body and soul,” associate pastor Scott Kinney said. “We’re helping people physically and we’re helping them spiritually.

“We much prefer they call and make an appointment, but nobody is turned away who needs help. We try to see everyone we can.”

The Faith Clinic is for people without health insurance. The clinic cannot accept patients already covered by insurance, Medicaid, SoonerCare, or other payer types.

The clinic now sees an average of 12 to 14 patients weekly but peaked at 22 right after the recent holidays, according to Kinney.

The Faith Clinic has treated patients with a wide range of medical conditions, notably high blood pressure and diabetes, since opening in March 2016.

The Faith Clinic’s director is Dayla Hall, a registered nurse since 1999 who now works at St. Anthony’s Hospital.

“The need is out here for free healthcare,” Hall said. “There are a lot of people who are uninsured and many who can’t afford medical care. We’re here to ‘fill the gap’ and take care of them physically and spiritually.”

The Faith Clinic serves primarily people age 18 to 64-1/2 years without medical insurance.
Without this free clinic offering its services, the only place those residents can go for treatment when they get sick is an emergency room.

The Faith Clinic isn’t just for “down-and-out” people.

“A lot of people are in ‘transition’ after they lost their job or insurance,” said Melody Denton, an advanced practice registered nurse. “Some people just have had bad luck. You never know what life will throw at you; things just happen sometimes.”

Faith Clinic personnel know their volunteer work makes a difference.

“At least once a month someone will tell us we saved their life,” pastor Kinney said.
Tracy Corbin, one of the Faith Clinic’s licensed pharmacists, said clinic staff enjoy getting to know the patients they see each week.

“We are a consistent presence,” Corbin said. “We really care about their well-being. We know them by name.”

Pastor Kinney added, “We take the time to get to know them.”

Inside the Faith Clinic at Trinity Baptist Church is a pharmacy manned each Tuesday night by licensed pharmacists. No narcotics are prescribed or administered, but patients without insurance get needed medications at no charge.

Clinic personnel also work with hospitals like Integris Canadian Valley and St. Anthony’s to provide medicine to patients who’ve been discharged.

Meanwhile, about 68 vaccinations were administered last fall during an inaugural flu clinic in conjunction with the Canadian County Health Department.

VOLUNTEERS, COMMUNITY PARTNERS

The Faith Clinic medical staff are all volunteers: Four licensed healthcare providers, five registered nurses, five patient assistants, four pharmacists, one physical therapist, and one diabetes educator.

“Our greatest need now is more providers – medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners,” Hall said. “We would like to have two per night.”

Each provider would need to volunteer “maybe once every six to eight weeks” at the free clinic, pastor Kinney noted.

Faith Clinic’s volunteer team includes many “non-medical” helpers, 13 members of the church security team, four intake personnel and four people who help with meal preparation and set-up.

More volunteers are always welcome.

“You don’t necessarily have to have a medical background or any type of certification to become a volunteer,” patient assistance co-coordinator Kathy Matthews said.
About half of the Faith Clinic’s volunteers attend Trinity Baptist Church.

The only “payment” these volunteers receive are meals served before the clinic opens each Tuesday. Some of the food is home-cooked and the rest is provided by local restaurants.
Director Hall said this free weekly medical clinic would not be possible without many “community partners” who offer their services and refer patients.

Faith Clinic partners have included hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, medical laboratories, dentists, optometrists, orthopedic surgeons, physicians, physician assistants, endocrinologists, neurologists, and other medical professionals.

MINISTERING TO PATIENTS

Faith Clinic staff ministers to patients who come in to receive free care. Recipients participate in a time of devotional and prayer at 6 p.m. each Tuesday when the medical clinic opens its doors.

“We can treat them physically and spiritually,” Matthews said. “I pray with patients, who often are worried about their health, family or financial situation.

“I keep in contact with patients to see how they’re doing. You don’t get that with a regular clinic.”

Faith Clinic personnel connect patients with helping agencies like Compassionate Hands and Manna Pantry for other needed services.

Clinic volunteers also help patients navigate the healthcare system.

“It can be overwhelming,” director Hall said. “We help them with Medicaid, Medicare and SoonerCare paperwork.”

IDEA STARTED IN 2015

The idea for this free medical clinic started in 2015 when a Trinity Baptist Church member approached pastor Kinney.

“I got so excited because it was an opportunity for our church to help people physically and spiritually,” Kinney said. “We took the idea to our elders and explained that we didn’t want this to cost the church any money. We would do it by faith.

“There are a lot of free clinics sponsored by Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma City, but there weren’t any in Canadian County. We’re now the only free medical clinic in Canadian County.”

When the idea to start this clinic was born four years ago, one hurdle was deciding where it would be located.

The solution came after pastor Kinney and Trinity Baptist members went on a mission trip to Mexico in summer 2015.

Hall, now the Faith Clinic’s director, helped people there during a medical clinic.
“We realized we could do this without a building,” Hall said. “The most important thing was being able to take care of people with the resources we have.”

It was decided to open the Faith Clinic each Tuesday night inside Trinity Baptist Church. The clinic is on the church’s south end.

CAR SHOW BENEFIT MAY 11

Funds to operate the free weekly clinic come from donations and fundraisers.

“All donations and funds we collect go directly back to the clinic,” Denton said.
The main fund-raiser is an annual car show on the second Saturday in May.

“We have had wonderful community donations and participation,” Matthews said.
The third annual car show to benefit the Faith Clinic will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11 in the Trinity Baptist Church parking lot. The show features cars, trucks, motorcycles, a craft show, food and door prizes.

The Faith Clinic benefits through entry fees and craft booth vendors who donate a portion of proceeds.

“Last year we had 75 entries and we’re looking to double that this time,” pastor Kinney said.

Anyone without insurance who needs free medical services call the clinic to make at 265-6198.

For more information, visit faithclinic@trinityyukon.com