Many people in Washington’s Benton and Franklin counties, like many other counties in the U.S., cannot afford healthcare and don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. They might be working two or three jobs, but still struggle to pay the bills and provide food and shelter for their families, let alone afford health insurance. Estimates suggest there are over 34,000 individuals in these two counties without medical insurance.
Often referred to as the “working poor,” this population would have to go to the emergency room for treatment, which is not ideal especially in treating chronic diseases that need regular monitoring. Grace Clinic fills that need in the Tri-Cities. For nearly 17 years, Grace Clinic, operating almost exclusively through community donations and volunteers has provided the uninsured in the community with access to comprehensive primary care including medical treatment, urgent dental care, mental health counseling and spiritual care.
“This place is a community effort and a lot of people come together to make this happen,” says CEO Mark Brault, also a volunteer. “We rely heavily on the over 300 volunteers that share their time and treasure for this community.” Last year the clinic logged over 20,000 volunteer hours.
Kadlec, part of Providence St. Joseph Health , is a long-time supporter of Grace Clinic. Not only do they provide $2,500/month or $30,000/year in Community Benefit support, but they have also expanded their residency program to include rotations at Grace Clinic.
“We rely on [Kadlec] them very much,” says Brault. “[They] are a terrific resource for us both in providing financial support and with their volunteers. They encourage their staff to volunteer and when we have a need in a particular area, a request goes out and they try to fill that need.”
Grace Clinic serves over 400 patients per month – many of whom would simply go without until the health situation became catastrophic.
“We try to remove the financial barrier and all other barriers and ask is there a need and we then address that need,” stated Avonte Jackson, Grace Clinic’s director. “We are here to do what we can to support them.”
“Kadlec’s ongoing financial support is very important for Grace Clinic as we are self-funded by the community,” said Brault. “We also partner with Kadlec in health care for the community; there are services that we cannot provide our patients, such as imaging. This partnership is a valuable resource for those who come to Grace Clinic for care.”
Grace Clinic also stocks a food cupboard, supported and administered by volunteers, where patients can get nutritious food for themselves and their families.
It is estimated that by helping patients – often before their situation is acute – Grace Clinic has been able to reduce the impact to the local ERs. More importantly, Grace Clinic is helping people get the regular care they need to improve the daily and long-term quality of their lives.
To learn more about the incredible work Grace Clinic is doing in our community, please visit: www.gracecliniconline.org/ and view a video segment from Kadlec’s weekly TV program called Community Health Journal, which showcases community initiatives like Grace Clinic.