Sometimes people ask how Family Health Care differs from the other safety net clinics. There are a number of ways in which our organizational policies set us apart from other clinics that serve the poor. The following illustrates some distinctions.


Jeremy was working on refinishing a chest of drawers. He completed painting and rinsed his brush in paint thinner. When he woke, he rubbed his eyes which led to searing pain. He had not washed the paint thinner off his hands. Since he had no insurance, he chose to go to a safety net clinic rather than an ER. He walked into that clinic asking for help and was told he could make an appointment the following week if he completed forms and met criteria. No urgent care was available for new or for established patients. He did not know where to turn next. His eyes were burning and his vision was compromised, he decided to try another clinic. He came to Family Health Care.


Jeremy walked in and Rachel at the front desk recognized the emergency and immediately got a provider to evaluate the situation. He was brought back directly, without being checked in, led by Taisha, a medical assistant. He was seen by a provider in the hall on the way to the eye wash station where he rinsed for ten minutes with staff by his side. After a good rinse and good handwashing, Jeremy was checked in and examined by NP Dirk who then had Dr. Curran, a volunteer ophthalmologist at Family Health Care see him. He was given definitive care.


He came to the right place. Jeremy came to Family Health Care where his urgent need was recognized by staff with autonomy to act. He asked for help from the right people. He was seen by people who cared more about his problem than about whether he met criteria for services. The only criteria was that he needed help. Jeremy left the clinic that morning in mid-July, able to see because the staff at Family Health Care saw him. Thanks to the staff and to those who give to help Family Health Care stay true to our vision.


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