When five patients at Health & Hope Medical Outreach’s free clinic had to be referred to Providence for an electrocardiogram (ECG) — a noninvasive test used to diagnose common heart problems — within a short time frame, it became clear to Director Diane Paulson that the clinic needed its own machine capable of doing the tests.
“If we could have done that in the clinic, we could have done that cheaper and the treatment would have been more concise. It would have saved a lot of money for a lot of people,” Paulson said.
Its board gave approval to seek funding for a $3,000 ECG machine a couple months ago and Paulson planned to announce the need at Health & Hope’s annual train ride fundraiser in August.
That fundraiser, attended by less than 200 people, raised $10,000 for an ECG machine.
On top of that, nearby Cooks Hill Community Church dedicated the profits of its community garage sale to the cause — donating an extra $2,000, for a grand total of $12,000.
“We were overwhelmed with the generosity,” said Paulson.
Health & Hope officially unveiled the new machine during an open house on Oct. 5.
The board will determine a use for the remaining funds in the coming weeks, said Paulson.
Health & Hope is located at 1911 Cooks Hill Road in Centralia and provides urgent care services to residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County who are uninsured or underinsured. “So they don’t qualify for any state assistance, but they’re still having a hard time getting medical care,” said Paulson.
A volunteer team provides all of the services within the clinic and donations cover the cost of all pharmacy and lab services. Whatever services Health & Hope can’t perform in-house or can’t afford are referred to Providence, which pays for some services with funds from their own charity program. Many of the individual doctors that Health & Hope refers patients to will provide consultations for free.
“It is a well-connected, wonderful service for the community,” Paulson said.
The free clinic operates one day a week on a staff of 20 volunteers who can see 12 to 24 patients a day, depending on how many doctors have volunteered that day.
The number of doctors and nurses available to volunteer at the clinic has decreased due to the ongoing pandemic, Paulson said, and the clinic is actively seeking volunteers who can help provide medical service or who can help in the clinic’s Christian resource center.
“We’re a faith-based organization so not only do we bring medical care, we also are bringing spiritual care and we connect them to other resources in the community,” said Paulson.
For more information on Health & Hope’s services or to get involved, visit hhmo.org/, email email@example.com or call 360-623-1485.