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Issues and Voices that Matter November 19, 2009

Coping with the Economy In Seminole County: Health Clinic

Shepherd’s Hope Health Clinic of Oviedo is a free walk-in clinic located at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  On Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 8:30 pm, it provides health care services to patients who are uninsured or are unable to pay.  Staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and community members, the clinic is meeting a critical need during this challenging economic period. Feature length – 24:18

(Produced, reported and edited by Desta Horner)

Shepherd’s Hope Health Clinic of Oviedo was established 7 years ago to provide health care to the uninsured and those who can’t afford to visit a doctor when they become sick. It is part of Shepherd’s Hope of Central Florida which supports 9 clinics in Orlando and surrounding communities. These clinics have served more than 16,000 patients in the first 10-months of 2009 with the help of 2000 volunteers. This is their twelfth year of operation.

In Oviedo, the health clinic is located at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. The inspiration for its founding came from Dr. Brian Roberts, a pastor at St. Luke’s who was concerned after an uninsured member of the congregation delayed treatment and died of a heart attack. The church rallied behind Pastor Roberts’ suggestion to establish a clinic ministry. St. Luke’s provides a facility with fully equipped exam and waiting rooms as well as rooms for a pharmacy, records and offices. In addition the church budgets $10,000 a year in support for electricity, custodial service and some supplies. The main Shepherd’s Hope organization allots $70,000 to the Oviedo clinic and provides medicines to the pharmacy.

The heart of the Oviedo health clinic is the volunteers. Of the 232 people who worked at the clinic in 2008, 107 were doctors, physician assistants and nurses. Their schedules are arranged by the Clinic Health Care Managers Kathryn Soucy and Caroline Luckhart. The rest were general volunteers who register patients, check eligibility, act as interpreters and guide them through the process. Each night approximately 10 general volunteers support 1 or 2 doctors and a nurse. They see 16 to 18 patients during the 2 ½ hours the clinic is open. From January to September 2009 the clinic was open 55 nights and served 1286 patients with 4,517 total volunteer hours. Thirty nine of these volunteers have dedicated time to the Oviedo clinic since it opened in 2002. Nancy Herbon schedules all the general volunteers.

All nine clinics in the system act as free walk-in clinics and are primarily for acute care, flu, sprains, infections, etc. Patients with chronic illnesses are referred to the Primary Care Access Network (PCAN) in Orange County to receive long term care. Emergency cases like heart attacks or broken bones are sent immediately to the hospital.

All Shepherd’s Hope clinics are associated with a religious organization. The Longwood, Florida clinic has five supporting churches and the Ocoee, Florida clinic is supported by a mosque. The annual budget is $950,000 which comes from donations and fundraising events. Donations may also be made to a special fund set up by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church to specifically supplement the Oviedo clinic. New volunteers are welcome at any of the Shepherd’s Hope Clinics.

Extended Interview & Pictures

Robbie Mattix, nurse-practioner
Extended interview (11:53)

Brian Roberts, pastor
Extended interview (14:57)

Kathryn Soucy, clinic manager
Extended interview (16:02)

Susan Donovan, volunteer
Extended interview (6:59)

Nancy Herbon (center) and Susan Donovan (right) check in patients Patients gather before the Clinic opens Robbie Mattix and Kathryn Soucy confer about a patient  The Pharmacy
The Records Room Pastor Brian Roberts of St. Luke’s

Additional Feature Information

3 Responses to “Coping with the Economy In Seminole County: Health Clinic”

  1. Lisa Villanueva says:

    Hello, My name is Lisa. I have many help problems. My main concern right now is my thyroid problem. I need to see a specialist but I can not afford one and the ins I have is Medicaid Share of Cost and I still can not find a doctor that takes it. I have called over 30 doctors. I really need to get this checked out. Is there any thing you all will be able to do for me with that or know someone who can? I will came in this Thursday night for some of my other problems though. Thank u for ur time.

  2. Desta Horner, producer CMF says:

    Thank you for your comment. I have contacted Nancy Herbon at the St. Luke’s Shepherd’s Hope clinic. She says she will be looking for you on Thursday. Please speak to her when you arrive. Since Shepherd’s Hope clinics do not serve people with Medicaid coverage, it may not be possible for them to help you there, but they may have some very helpful references for sources you can use.
    Good Luck and of course my wish for your better health.

  3. Sharon MP says:

    My husband is working but we have lost our home and personal belongings. We have been living in Extended Stay America in Lake Mary, Florida for the past several weeks. We don’t have anywhere else to go and don’t have health insurance. I am out of my synthroid for my thyroid and my husband has run out of the high blood pressure medicine he needs. The hotel is expensive but at least it is furnished and has a small kitchen. My husbands income is slightly above the 200% poverty level but with the cost of the hotel we cannot afford to go to a doctor much less pay for prescriptions. Can you help us?

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