Late last month,Key Free Clinic’s open house began with a welcoming address byclinic board chair, Chuck West, a Key Peninsula Fire Department battalion chief. He was followedby an explanation of the clinic’s goals byDr. Jessica Kennedy Schlicher, the clinic medical director, and one of several doctors who volunteer their services at the Key Center location.
Among medical personnel attending wereDr. William “Bill” Roes, volunteerdoctors Jaime Payne,Nathan Schlicher,Carla Cameron, clinic director, volunteerCarol Schlicher, RN,andKurt Schley, president at St. Anthony Hospital, who is also on theboard of directors with the Communities In Schools of Peninsula.
“The clinic is a wonderful place to work and to be a patient, and we are thankful for the leadership of Carla Cameron, without whom it would not be possible. Everyone is welcome; it is a friendly place,”said Jessica in her opening remarks.
She said the clinic isin the process of raising funds for 2015. Its total clinic budget is $17,000, of which she said, they have about $5,000. “We are thankful for our supporters who make it possible to keep our doors open. Major supporters include St. Anthony Hospital, Cost Less Drugs,Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church,Key Peninsula Lions Club and many individuals who give generously,”she said.
Harrison Medical Center provided food and soft drinks for the event.
The Key Free Clinic began Jan. 28, 2012 with a small group of doctors and nurses andfounders West, Regina Puratich, Roes, Dave Allen, Jim Patterson, Cameron, Jud Morris and Dee Dee Kerkus, clinic coordinator.
“With the support of St. Anthony Hospital, Project Access,Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church,and many other community organizations and individuals, in 2013 we treated 132 patients,” Schlicher said. “We have 18 volunteer doctors, and many nurses and nursing students from Pacific Lutheran University. About half our patients are homeless.
“In 2014 we treated 125 patients for many common problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, breast cancer, sports physicals, et cetera.Cost Less Pharmacy has been our partner in medication management,” she said.
Schlicher said that continuing need prompted an expansion to our now “twice-monthly clinic.”
All physicians and nurses volunteer their time.
“It’s truly heartwarming to see how many step up to care for our neighbors.My husband Nathan, an ER doctor, and I, a family doctor, have been volunteering at the clinic since 2013,” she said.
West said that although the clinic is free to anyone needing non-urgent medical care, they still have to pay rent, utilities and other general costs.
“Our doctors and many others donate their time to provide a quality service but it still costs about $17,000 per year to run the clinic. We are currently in the process of raising funds to cover these expenses and ask the community for any help it can offer. A donation of $435 covers one month of rent, $150 covers insurance, and $50 helps with medications,”West said.
Looking to the future, the needs of the clinic include establishing a reserve fund for medications, improving patient educational materials, improving access to ongoing care and referrals, and building a reserve for operations.
“We are grateful to Costless Pharmacy and the Key Peninsula Lions Club for supporting our medication fund,”said Nathan Schlicher. “This is a dedicated fund that is only used for that purpose. We manage our resources very carefully and use generics as much as possible.
“Free clinics don’t survive without the generous support of the communities they serve. Doctors and nurses provide care for free, but we still have building, medicines and supplies costs that would not be possible without your support,”he said.
Donations can be mailed to KFC at PO Box 1095, Vaughn, Wash. For information, visit keyfreeclinic.org.