According to the latest Census data, 9.5% of people living in Summit County are without health insurance. Even for healthy and financially secure people, a health emergency can spell disaster. People’s Health Clinic is looking to help bridge that gap.
The clinic is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit which offers low- and no-cost care to patients. It is funded entirely by donations from residents, organizations, and grants from local governments.
The clinic provides preventative care and chronic illness support to residents of Summit and Wasatch counties who are not insured. The clinic reports 97% of its patients are employed in at least one job – and many have several. They are the workers who keep our tourism business running — working at hotels, restaurants, resorts, retail, and construction. Vital jobs to the economy…but jobs that rarely offer health benefits. Most of these jobs pay enough that employees don’t qualify for Medicaid – but don’t pay enough to pay health insurance premiums. And, a little-known fact about the PHC, most patients do also contribute money toward their care.
And here’s the thing: many health issues can be addressed more easily and for far less money if they are simply caught early. This is something the clinic works hard to address.
In fact, PHC was recently recognized by the Utah Million Hearts Coalition for its commitment to helping people manage blood pressure. One in three adults in this country has high blood pressure and only about half of those people have it under control. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease…which costs a whole lot more to manage than blood pressure. The clinic was one of just 91 clinics across the state who earned the recognition.
The clinic also offers general health, women’s health, pediatric care, mental health and helps people figure out how to address and take care of chronic issues. It will also refer patients to places which can offer reduced cost diagnostic tests like CT and MRIs. They offer free mammograms to women over 40. They also help refer people to job services and help people figure out how to find and acquire medical insurance.
A quick look at a few numbers: the clinic operates on a roughly $843,000 budget. This is funded mostly by grants and private donations (Park City, Summit County, and Wasatch County governments also provide funding).
In 2017 — the clinic diagnosed 250 people with diabetes. In 2018, the clinic provided 9,855 patient visits and 243 patients with medications. These services add up quickly, with values reaching into the millions of dollars. But still far less than people would spend relying on emergency services.
Of course, the clinic is always looking for donations, but it is also looking for volunteers to help manage some of the overhead costs. Even if you don’t have medical training, there are opportunities to help in the office, as well as interpreting, as many of the clients speak Spanish. Only two of the providers at the clinic are paid, the rest are volunteers.
In an op-ed for Park Record, one provider said the clinic currently has a wait time of over a month and they hope to bring that down to a week. She said “a few more physician and non-medical volunteers would go a long way! If you are a physician or just a caring individual or have a friend or neighbor who you can spread the word to, come on in for a tour and consider joining our team. Your time could not be better spent.”
If you would like to donate or look into volunteering, you can do so at www.peopleshealthclinic.org.