Providence Medical Clinic, a ministry of First Baptist Church that offers free medical care to those in need, is in need itself.
Located at 441 Clay St. across from the church, Providence needs volunteers — physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, nurses and office staff — willing to donate two hours a month or two hours every other month.
“Because we’re all volunteer-driven at the clinic, I look and see what providers have signed up and that determines from week to week how many patients I can help,” said Clinic Manager Vandi France. “There’s a desperate need for providers. We’re trying to serve that patient population who goes to the ER and keep them out of the ER, help the community and have a place for them to go, ... and we just can’t do it without volunteers.”
Providence opened in 2010 as a way to offer additional avenues of medical care to the underserved residents of Sullivan County. The clinic also offers spiritual care. The clinic opens to serve patients every Thursday.
Services provided include primary care, preventive care, patient education, limited prescriptions, limited specialist referrals, limited lab and ancillary tests, counseling referrals, flu shots, and social services assistance. Emergency care, pain medication, prenatal care, child immunizations and treatment for major illnesses are not available.
“We really need those people to volunteer two hours a month or two hours every other month. They get in about 6 [p.m.] and they’re out by 8,” France said. “We are to the point where we have a very long waiting list and everyone who comes in, their story is more desperate than the next, and you want to help everybody and you can’t.
“We usually see 15 to 20 [patients] a week, and we’re open one night a week. We have a little over 200, maybe 250 patients right now who don’t have to have an appointment. Once they’re established as a patient they can come first come, first serve,” she said. “Usually we end up having to turn somebody away. We’ll have 25, 26 people show up but we don’t have the doctors to take care of them.”
Between spiritual providers, nurses and office staff, Providence does have around 150 volunteers.
“We would take as many as we could get. The plan is if we could have more providers we could open up another night, Tuesday night and Thursday night,” France said. “I’m hoping people will read this and think, ‘Hey, I can do that. I can help out. I can give two hours a month or two hours every other month.’”
Eligible patients must be residents of Sullivan County and the city of Kingsport with a household income at or below 120 percent of the poverty guideline. Individuals seeking care must complete an eligibility application and attend an eligibility screening, and must bring proof of income, such as food stamp, pay stub, Social Security benefits, etc.
For more information about volunteering, call France at 534-9330.comments powered by Disqus