Clinic for uninsured seeks location
As a volunteer on a medical team going to homeless camps with the Grand Junction Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, Lloyd Davis saw first-hand the need for a health clinic for uninsured people in the Grand Valley.
Davis, who serves as Community Hospital’s director of behavioral services, asked his pastor at the Downtown Vineyard Church, Paul Watson, if the church could organize and sponsor a health clinic for the uninsured. Watson agreed and Good Samaritan Clinic was born.
The clinic has been offered once a month since August at Catholic Outreach. Anyone without insurance, homeless or not, can receive free medical treatment at the clinic events, where medical and mental health professionals offer basic services such as strep throat tests; help with asthma, coughs and colds; treatment for sprains and strains; flu shots; mental health screenings; and sometimes eye or podiatry exams.
Each one-day clinic has served 50 to 60 people and Good Samaritan has received three exam tables, supplies and monetary donations, although Watson said more benefactors are being sought. The clinic gets volunteers from Colorado Mesa University’s nursing program and Adams State College’s graduate counseling program, as well as the local medical professional community.
“It’s amazing how God has opened the doors for this. I never thought it would grow so quickly. I never thought we would have 85 volunteers in three months, but we do,” Davis said, counting the non-student volunteers.
The clinic tried to open a permanent location in November at 634 Main St. but that plan fell through. Davis said the clinic would love to have a permanent location open on Saturdays and two or three times during the week.
“Once we have a facility, we’ll be able to have more continuity of care,” Davis said.
Davis’ wish list for a new facility includes a building with multiple treatment rooms, accessible entrances for people with disabilities and, if possible, room for storage and a place for specialists to practice, such as dentists and podiatrists. He also wants the clinic to be in a safe area that is centrally located or on a Grand Valley Transit bus route.
“The majority of people we serve don’t have easy access to transportation,” Davis explained.
Good Samaritan isn’t the only place in Grand Junction for the uninsured to seek care. But Davis hopes to build a relationship with patients so that people who may otherwise shy away from treatment or not listen to a doctor’s advice feel comfortable enough to attend the clinic.
Davis also wants to come to people who may not otherwise reach the clinic by turning a mobile home or van into a mobile clinic that could go to the same homeless camps he visits with the HOT team. Davis said he may write a grant application to achieve that goal.