Clinic Furnishes Hope to Underserved Patients
Aug 01, 2016 10:16AM
By Bryan Scott
Tom Roberson, a retired firefighter and nurse, fills out a form while volunteering at the Hope Clinic. –Travis Barton
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Midvale, Utah - Volunteers can often be found delivering food boxes, making hygiene kits or reading to underprivileged children. But tucked away in the corner of a parking lot next to State Street, you’ll find a whole new world of volunteering.
Hope Clinic is a free medical facility run completely by volunteers to help those who are uninsured and 150 percent below federal poverty guidelines.
“Everybody we do is of the highest integrity so they know that we’ll do our very best,” co-founder Jane Powers said.
The clinic, co-founded by Dr. Mansoor Emam and Powers, a nurse, who work at Intermountain Healthcare, opened the clinic in 2010 and run it on their days off—Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Specialty clinics are available on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
After starting the Maliheh Free Clinic in 2005, which had more of a business model with staff, Powers and Emam wanted to do something unique.
“Our whole goal was to keep it simple. What could we put together that could be the least complicated and provide great service,” Powers said.
But first they needed a space. After one of Emam’s patients, John Holmes, passed away, the patient’s family donated the office space necessary to start Hope Clinic located right next to the Holmes business.
“They just embraced the vision that healthcare is a right and not a privilege,” Powers said.
But other ingredients are needed to create the clinic besides the building, such as equipment.
“We could not do any of this if it weren’t for the generous donation of many different areas,” Powers said.
Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) donated the lab the clinic uses. IHC also allows many of the clinic’s patients come see specialists unable to receive the proper treatment at the clinic. Powers said those patients will see a surgeon from IHC for a flat fee of $25. The surgeon still receives their fee, but IHC’s charity fund will supplement the rest.
Hope Clinic follows the rules of IHC to get their services. The clinic only supplies their limited resources to those who don’t otherwise have the insurance or means to get them. One advantage is the freedom to implement policies and ideas as they please.
“We don’t have to have committees to change a process,” Powers said.
Community donations are essential to how the clinic helps. Powers estimates almost 80 percent of their patients are diabetic and with pharmaceutical prices constantly fluctuating, pills can get expensive. One de-worming pill could cost $1,000.
The clinic gets patients not just from Midvale, but from Wendover, Rock Springs and even Las Vegas.
“We’re filling in and joining hands with the community, we can’t fix the world by one little clinic but one person at a time,” Powers said.
With a building and the necessary tools to treat the sick, the last component to run the clinic are the people. It’s that volunteering aspect, Powers said, that makes the clinic special.
“The difference between a job and here is you’re choosing this, you’re making this a priority, you’re taking from your time and giving back,” Powers said.
All sorts of volunteers work at the clinic bringing expertise from different backgrounds such as nurses, endocrinologists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, physicians, lawyers and translators. There’s even a former Delta executive turned nurse, Danette Lyman, who now acts as the clinic’s director.
“It enriches their life, since they’re coming from a different framework,” Powers said.
Sandy Ford, an emergency room nurse who volunteers at the clinic, said it’s all about helping people.
“It’s taking care of people and practicing medicine in its purest form,” Ford said.
Medicine is not only provided to the patients, but that purity extends to the volunteers as well.
Tom Roberson, a retired firefighter and nurse, heard about the clinic and wanted to help out with his new free time. Now he can’t get enough.
“It’s addicting this place is…it gets into your blood,” Roberson said.
It’s also the perfect teaching situation. Some of the volunteers are just embarking on their medical careers.
“We love to launch them into their goals,” Powers said.
Drew Fuller, who will be starting medical school at the University of Utah, said its given him lots of experience with patient interaction.
“It’s helped me see the barriers people see when accessing healthcare…you start to get an idea of how to address those and bridge some of the gaps that exist,” Fuller said.
“A lot of these patients need to be seen by a doctor,” Noah Horvath, a UCLA student, said. “Like they’ll have a blown knee for 20 years that they’ve just had.”
Hailey Karg, a student nurse who will graduate in December, said she’s learned how important the educational aspect is for the patients. One patient didn’t want to inject insulin because they thought it would give them skin cancer.
“Having us around to educate them—like on what cholesterol is and how they can lower it—is really good for them to hear,” Karg said. “You never know what background people came from and then there’s language barriers.”
“It’s like teenagers educating each other about sex, words pass by into myths and legends,” Powers said.
Powers plays a huge role in not only the operating abilities of the clinic well known for her ability to multitask.
“Jane is an absolute miracle worker. I’ve never seen such an emphatically competent juggler,” Peter Goodall, a lawyer who volunteers his abilities at the clinic, said.
“You could give her 20 things and she’ll get them all done like that, it’s amazing,” Karg said.
It’s also Power’s spirit that imbues itself on the clinic giving it its namesake.
Brittany Madsen, a phlebotomist at the clinic, said Power’s attitude sets her apart.
“It’s her resiliency to keep a positive attitude in the face of anything. It’s crazy—best nurse I’ve ever seen,” Madsen said.
“[Jane’s] everybody’s best friend,” Goodall added.
Powers said she loves the team aspect of the clinic.
“It’s the people that make the place,” Powers said.
Through Powers, it’s visible that Hope Clinic benefits the people working there as much as the patients who visit.
“There’s just something that seems to be here for me and for everyone else, it’s just such a good energy,” Powers said.
Clinic visits are available by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.