Siemion said he started going to the clinic soon after it opened two years ago. He is one of the many people who visit the facility on a weekly basis to get help — whether it is for a chronic condition or a cold.
“It’s inspirational that people would volunteer their time in a situation like this,” Siemion said. “It is such a help to the community.”
The clinic started in May 2010 and is at the Ottawa County Health Department branch office on Ferris Street in Grand Haven Township. The facility uses volunteer doctors and nurses from the Tri-Cities area, and North Ottawa Community Hospital provides lab services for the clinic.
Love INC Tri-Cities President/CEO Eric Morgan said the clinic has exceeded any expectations that he had for it two years ago.
“There’s a lot of things we do, but the health clinic is one of those profound things,” Morgan said. “This was our answer to the national health care crisis.”
The sign-up for the clinic begins each Thursday at 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., the doors open and the first 14 people on the list are the ones who will get treated.
“Every night is different,” clinic coordinator Beth DeWyn said. “I always say it’s a new adventure.”
DeWyn said some nights at the clinics end at 7:30, while other nights it is open as late as 10 to treat patients.
“It just literally depends on how complicated their problems are,” she said.
Grand Haven resident Michael Jerovsek said he enjoyed having the free clinic located in the community.
“I’ve been coming here for about a year for high blood pressure,” he said. “For me, it is because I don’t have insurance.”
Jerovsek said he heard about the program through a relative, and has told other people he knows about the free clinic.
“I would probably go without, because I did for a while and I finally couldn’t put it off anymore,” he said.
Morgan said he clinic is saving people from going to the emergency room for basic problems, as well as saving the hospital money.
“We’re keeping people from going to the ER,” Morgan said. “Whether they pay or don’t pay, they have to see them.”
DeWyn said to address some of the more chronic problems, the clinic has added a free blood pressure screening, physical therapy by appointment and diabetes education once per month.
And, as the clinic continues, DeWyn said she would like to see more doctors and medical professionals step up to the plate to volunteer their time on Thursday nights.
“We are definitely in need of more providers,” she said. “We’re getting down to where we’re scratching the bottom of the barrel and we don’t know if we’re going to be open.”
If you would like to volunteer or would like more information about the clinic, call Beth DeWyn at 846-2701 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.