Opinion

Sequim's free clinic needs your help

 

I have been a volunteer with the Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic for five months. This has been a fulfilling and interesting experience. 

Week after week I have seen more than 70 volunteers — medical professionals, as well as nonmedical persons such as I work with — to help those who have no physician, no insurance, limited funds or a combination of the three.

The clinic provides medical services on a first-come, first-served basis. We also offer regular maintenance programs for those with a chronic illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma. When funds are available, we provide vouchers for dental care from our local dentists. In 2011, the clinic had more than 2,000 patient visits.

We offer wellness education programs. This year we have expanded from a monthly patient-oriented series to a community-oriented series featuring highly regarded volunteer speakers on wellness-related topics. Programs are listed in our local newspapers.

In addition to taking care of those who are ill, we strive to keep people out of the Olympic Medical Center emergency room. If we can treat those who have small problems before they become big ones, it is a plus for the patient and our community. We want to preserve patient health, save tax dollars and gird against higher insurance premiums. Many of those who go untreated early will end up in an emergency room and perhaps a hospital bed, an expense to all of us.

The Olympic Medical Center board recognizes this. While many of our patients make a small donation when they receive service from us, OMC helps the Wellness Clinic keep its costs down by providing our patient care space, laboratory tests and images at minimal cost. 

Although we seek and receive grants from foundations and the City of Sequim, in large part we are dependent on the contributions of individuals in the Sequim community. We need your help. 

If you do not need medical support from the clinic but appreciate the need for it, I ask you to make a contribution — in any amount. Though we receive many professional services at a reduced rate, some fees for service must be paid. The average expense for a dental patient, for instance, is $200. 
Please make your tax deductible check to DVHWC and mail it to PO Box 3434 in Sequim, 98382.

The clinic is at 777 N. Fifth Ave. in Sequim. For more information and perhaps to volunteer at the clinic, please call 582-0227. You may reach me at my home, 681-4830, or e-mail me at jpick@wavecable.com. The clinic website is www.sequimfreeclnic.org. Thank you.

Jim Pickett is executive director of the Dungeness Valley Health & Wellness Clinic. He was named Sequim's Citizen of the Year in 2010 and received the Clallam County Public Service Award in 2007. 
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