Local News

December 23, 2009

Oskaloosa Free Clinic continues to make difference

OSKALOOSA — The young mother of three always puts her children before herself. She found a part-time job so she could make sure they had warm clothes and a few little extras. She cuts out coupons and finds bargains at the Goodwill. But without health insurance, she suffered for several weeks with severe stomach pain before deciding to go to the Oskaloosa Free Clinic.

It’s a good thing she did, because according to Dr. Matt Whitis, Volunteer Medical Director of the Oskaloosa Free Clinic, she had a serious kidney infection and was close to needing hospitalization. She was able to receive free prescriptions and when she came back the next week for a follow-up, she was on the road to recovery.

She can’t say enough nice things about the volunteer staff who assisted her. “They are truly angels and everyone there treated me great. I don’t know why I was reluctant to go there. I’m just very grateful we have the (free) clinic available in my town.”

Her story is not a unique one.

“We treat a lot of young people in their 20s who don’t receive health insurance through their jobs,” Dr. Whitis said. “Others, such as the woman in her 50s, was working full time until she was laid off. She started a new job, but she hasn’t been there long enough to receive insurance.”

The Oskaloosa Free Clinic is a resource for people without health insurance or other means of health care coverage. It is open every Tuesday, excluding holidays, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Patients are seen on a first come, first served basis and receive basic medical services for illness, minor injury and preventive care.

“Often, our patients have a variety of health issues that have been building up over time, so when they come in, it’s for three or four different things. We also help patients manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension. By managing these diseases, we are heading off major illness and giving patients good direction on how to manage their health long-term.”

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