The Family Health Partnership Clinic and Sage Legacy Fund celebrated the new “Clinic Without Walls” on Tuesday at the McHenry County PADS Day Shelter.
The medical supply van is an expansion of health care services the clinic has been offering to the shelter and the Old Firehouse Assistance center since January. It allows for McHenry County’s homeless population to have greater access to needed treatment. The program sends a primary care team to the homeless centers to provide exams, lab tests and medications.
The van allows for better transportability of the program. The program is offered once a week at the shelters and once a month at McHenry’s Garden Quarter Resource Center, said Suzanne Hoban, executive director of the clinic.
“We had our ultimate goal, which was to get care to the people who probably have the most difficulty accessing care,” Hoban said. “We worked backwards from there. What are the barriers and how can we address those barriers?”
Lack of transportation and higher priorities can lead to people who are impoverished and homeless putting off getting necessary care, PADS Director Erin Brumfield Grima said.
“We have seen a big difference made in the people coming in to get these services,” she said. “Lots of people may have health benefits through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act, but because they are experiencing homelessness, it makes it hard for them to put that on priority and get out to a general care physician. … This has been wonderful to create availability to get people services they need.”
Sage Legacy Fund and the McHenry County Community Foundation funded the project. It cost about $36,000 to get running, and the community foundation helped outfit the special medical van. Sage also will fund staffing costs for the next three years, Hoban said.
Legacy foundation member Vince Foglia said the idea was transformational.
“We thought it was super,” he said. "If you can’t get the patients to the doctor, you bring the doctors to the patients. You can’t get better than that.”