Sunday, September 13, 2009

PROUD TO BE IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR



In 2001 I retired after working for 23 years as a Secretary in a very active Emergency Room. At first I enjoyed traveling and just plain relaxing but I soon tired of this. A stint with the Literacy Council, reading to children, did not satisfy my unrest.

Then, in 2005, I heard about a local Dr. and minister who were teaming up to start a Free Care Clinic in our County. I became very interested and signed up just as soon as they put out the call for volunteers. I’ve been with them ever since.

The first thing that surprised me was the actual NEED in our community for a Free Care Clinic. On the surface our area looks to be quite affluent and I had no idea how that masked the underlying poverty. In order for a patient to qualify for free care at the Clinic they have to prove that they are a member of the County, have no medical insurance and are living on an income that is below or just above the poverty level. Of course this cuts out all Medicare and Medicaid patients, as well as children, so the patients range from the 20’s to the mid 60’s.

These are the very people who use Emergency Rooms as their personal doctor’s offices…knowing that they are unable to pay but having no choice. This means that their charges are not written off but are absorbed in the overall hospital expense, and it’s why we, the paying public, get charged such exorbitant prices.

The first three years at the Clinic were spent in one room (approx. 20x20’) at the local Health Dept., with a corridor for a waiting room. It was incredibly short of space and the Drs., the staff and the patients literally tripped over each other.

Now we have this lovely location, complete with 4 exam rooms. At last count we have over 1800 patients who meet the stringent requirements for care. We are funded by contributions and Grants and, although some of the staff is paid, the Doctors with specialties (ENT, Heart, Orthopedic, Dental, etc.) are all volunteers. It is a dream coming true and it warms my heart to be part of it.

I can’t resist showing you “my office”. The regular staff quickly occupied the available offices so I chose the one place left where I could set up and leave my stuff…the “Electricity Room”. !!

10 Comments:

Blogger lucylocket said...

You have a good heart!

4:55 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie, I am so proud of you--finding something meaningful to do after a career is over.
And, you give me great hope. My husband retires in one month, and we are thinking about what we will do next.
I retired (unplanned) in 2002 when the insurance company I worked for eliminated my department. I went right into adjunct teaching, which has been very enjoyable. But I do want to find something that maybe the two of us--my husband and I--can do.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The clinic is a wonderful and generous response to a need. I hope you will eventually have an adequate public health care system that would put your clinic out of business.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Congratulations on the growth and success! Being in on the ground floor is always rewarding, especially in those cases that expand to other floors!

7:31 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Ginnie, I think it is good of you to do that. I couldn't handle retirement either - so that's why I continue to work. I don't know if my daughter knows about that place or not, but I'll tell her. She will be an RN come next May.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Good for you Ginnie! To be a part of such a wonderful community service. It sounds as though you have been blessed. The electricity room , not as bad as it could have been!
Love Di

8:07 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Wow, what a great service you all provide. How great to be part of it. Your blessings will be great, and blessings are the only things we can take with us!
Your office reminds me of my first "space" my first year of teaching. There was no art room, so I used empty rooms (where the teacher had their break) but we had to run across the hall to "my space" to use a sink. It had been a janitor's closet!
So glad you have "your" space!

4:17 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You are doing a good thing.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Ginnie, I am grateful that there is such a clinic. There certainly is a need. People like you make the world a better place.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

Ginnie, you are a woman of my own heart! This is exactly what I would look to do when I do..retire, LOL..funny that. Also, If I ever became so filthy rich, I would still want to do my work..because I love it..and well, this way I would not get paid..but if I did, I would give my wage to charity..just saying, it was if I became rich :)
Love the office!!

3:07 AM  

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