Free Clinic of Meridian receives grant for laboratory

Erin Kelly / The Meridian Star – New lab equipment is being installed in the Free Clinic of Meridian this week because of a grant the clinic received, leaders said Thursday.


Patients of the Free Clinic of Meridian will soon be able to get laboratory test results on site because of a grant the clinic received, leaders of the clinic said Thursday.

The clinic is one of six nationwide to receive the funds for a diagnostic laboratory, according to a news release.

The new equipment will speed up the process for patients and enhance safety, said Stephanie Woodall, the clinic’s nurse manager.

“We are so excited,” Woodall said. “As patients come in, they will be able to have their labs drawn and the doctor will be able to have those results before they see the patient. In the past, we would send the labs off.”

The program is funded by medical technology company Becton, Dickinson and Company and implemented by global health organization Heart to Heart International and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, according to the release. 

“Receiving lab results might seem effortless for many Americans, but for those in underserved communities, accessible lab testing is a significant obstacle to effective treatment,” Kim Carroll, CEO of Heart to Heart International said in the release. 

The new equipment includes four instruments and five kits that can check sodium, potassium, and cholesterol levels and test for HIV, the flu, strep, and other conditions, according to Charles McDonald Jr., the laboratory programs manager for Heart to Heart International.

“If the doctor sees a potassium (level) of 2.4, he can address it right there,” Woodall said. “It’s wonderful.” 

The Free Clinic of Meridian cares for patients 19-64 years of age who are ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare and are 200% below the federal poverty level, Woodall said. 

“We’re helping the patients who essentially fall through the cracks because they don’t have insurance,” she said.  

Technicians will be installing the equipment and providing training this week and the clinic will resume normal hours on Monday, according to the news release. 


Erin Kelly / The Meridian Star – Jane Smith, medical technologist for Becton, Dickinson and Company, Stephanie Woodall, nursing manager for The Free Clinic of Meridian, and Charles McDonald Jr., the laboratory programs manager for Heart to Heart International gather where a new diagnostic laboratory is being installed this week at The Free Clinic of Meridian.