“Why do you volunteer at Hope House Free Medical Clinic?” That’s a great question. I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of the great team of volunteers at Hope House since it formed in 2006. After spending hours providing medical care in your “day job” why would anyone want to do this on their time off? The answer is at the heart of why we work in health care. People who look to Hope House for their health care needs have nowhere else to go and often have conditions which could result in serious harm or financial failure if neglected. It takes so little to help them get back on track and they are so quick to express their appreciation. Caring for others gives life meaning and providing that care to grateful and appreciative persons renews our calling. Through the generosity of many and our partnerships with other groups we are able to supply their basic needs until they are able to obtain insurance and a permanent source of primary care. Filling this gap gives patients an option besides a trip to the emergency room which for some is their only other choice. In spite of the Affordable Health care Act there are still plenty of people who slip through the cracks and we’re there for them. During the Covid 19 pandemic we’re still there, offering video and telephone visits and in-person visits when appropriate. Our partners at Ferris College of pharmacy provide hundreds of prescriptions each year, offer immunizations, medication counseling and chronic disease collaborative care. Our relationship with Spectrum Health allows us to cover limited diagnostic testing. And in the future, due to the forward thinking of our great board members, we are making plans to develop a wellness care program so our patients can be built physical, mental, and spiritual health. 2020 has been a very hard year for nearly everyone but a great year to give back to our community and make an investment in our neighbor’s lives! Please consider joining with us. There are so many ways that you can make a difference.
The focus on Co-Vid 19 has hampered efforts to provide wellness screening for Hope House Patients. Recently, the recommended age for colon cancer screening was lowered to 45. Although the occurrence of colon cancer deaths has decreased in older adults, primarily due to screening/detection, it was recently announced that there has been an increase in detection in the younger screening population. Hope House is embarking upon a colon cancer detection/screening program aimed at patients aged 45-75, about 60% of our patients are in this age group. Patients will receive counseling and brochures recommending they take advantage of the opportunity for screening. Hope House is also eager to support female patients over age 40 to obtain mammograms. Partnering with District Ten of the Health Department, patients will be referred for screening, which is completed at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. All patients have the ability to obtain needed vaccines—influenza, T-Dap, pneumonia and shingles vaccine, and are strongly encouraged to do so. Rowe Pharmacy Care Center, our partnering pharmacy at Ferris, administers the vaccines—appointments can be made during regular pharmacy hours.
The pandemic presented unique challenges for the Rowe Pharmacy Care Clinic, but we have not wavered from our mission and vision to take care of patients’ medication needs. During these times of shutdowns and closures, the Rowe Pharmacy Care Clinic has kept normal hours and continued to provide medications via mail and curbside pick-up. We utilize a Pharmacist-Refill Protocol where the pharmacists are able to prescribe up to a 30 day fill of a patient’s medication in order to assure that patients are not going without their medications. Immunizations and lab testing had to be halted for a few months, but patients had lab tests ordered at Spectrum Hospital to make sure their care was monitored appropriately. Since the public has been granted access again to the Hagerman Pharmacy Building, the pharmacists have been actively reaching out to patients to have them come in for lab tests and immunizations. Influenza vaccines are even more important this year, so we are continuing to offer free vaccines to all Hope House patients, and strongly encouraging them to be up-to-date on all of their vaccines. We have also continued to offer pharmacist-managed care for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These services are offered under a Collaborative Practice Agreement with Dr. Wright that allows the pharmacists to start, stop, and change medications.
“Why do you volunteer at Hope House Free Medical Clinic?” That’s a great question. I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of the great team of volunteers at Hope House since it formed in 2006. After spending hours providing medical care in your “day job” why would anyone want to do this on their time off? The answer is at the heart of why we work in health care.” –Dr. Wright
Susan retired at age 64, prior to being eligible for Medicare and had no other insurance. She heard about Hope House from a friend, and came to the clinic with several issues—rashes, high blood pressure, a facial lesion. Hope House provided a safety net for her, obtaining needed lab and radiology services as well as a referral to dermatology. Through this process it was recognized that Susan had cancerous lesions in her lungs as well as colon abnormalities. She applied for her Medicare and since she was within 30 days of eligibility, she was able to continue with her treatment through a cancer center in Grand Rapids.
Leroy was referred by a hospital in Grand Rapids. Not only was he diabetic, he had suffered a pulmonary embolism and needed close follow-up after discharge, since he was going to be on blood thinners and other medications. Not only was he seen at Hope House, but our providers assumed the responsibility for monitoring his weekly labs. He subsequently developed other problems, but continued to be seen at Hope House until he was finally accepted for Medicaid. Our providers cared for him until he obtained a new provider, an additional six months.