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Message from Dr. Wright June 2024

“Now that we’re halfway through 2024 it’s time to give a Hope House Free Medical Clinic update. First off, It’s amazing to me to think that we have made it through a worldwide pandemic! Not that COVID is gone forever; far from it. But with vaccines, the broad spread of the virus, and its biological transformation were all in a far different situation than a year or two go. We are grateful to God and to all our volunteers and supporters who helped us make it. 2023 was a year marked by the arrival of many new patients, volunteers, and even a new board member, Barb Farr, who has assumed the treasurer position and brings us many years of experience in fund accounting. In spite of this growth we still have space for many new patients. If you are blessed to have health insurance then please keep in minded that many of the people you see or interact with every day don’t and may not know about Hope House. Anything you can do to spread the word about Hope House will help others access our services. If you know of any place where you an drop off brochures such as your church, place of work, local businesses or organizations you are associated with let us know and we’ll make sure you receive some to share. Our spiritual care guides have been having some great conversations recently with patients who report they are extremely pleased with for the care they receive and our attention to “the whole person.” Our office volunteer staff have been meeting in small teams recently  to work on improving the way we provide care and coordinate community resources for patients.  I’m thankful for the dedicated volunteers at Hope House some of which  have been with us for 5, 10, and now, 18 years. It’s a privilege to help our uninsured neighbors get the care they need.”

Pharmacy News

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?

“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’s Story

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’s Story

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.

Focus on Wellness

It is a good reminder that 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 percent 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 Corewell 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 State University, administers the vaccines—appointments can be made during regular pharmacy hours.