Battle Ground HealthCare Free Health Care to Open

"I was trying to write a grant proposal with a balanced budget without any money. I read in the Psalm of David it says, '... give me a sign of your goodness Lord.' I prayed and I said, 'God I don't need a sign ... but if you want to give me one I can give you glory.' Just then my cell phone indicated a message. It was the pastor at my church and he said someone just literally walked into the church office and handed him a check for $5,000 for the clinic. That was enough to help make a balanced budget." — Vickie Marsh

Vicke Marsh, registered nurse and founding member, grins eagerly while telling how professional members and caregivers throughout the Battle Ground, Wash., area prayed and rallied to make their medical clinic, once only a dream, stand ready to be unveiled. On Sabbath, Feb. 19, members toured the facility waiting final clearance for their non-profit, volunteer-based, entirely free, health-care clinic at the Center Point Community Center, 11117 N.E. 189th St.

More than a year ago, the Center Point management committee appointed Ruthie Gohl, member and Walla Walla University nursing instructor, to access what could be done in a vacant building at the east side of the church's parking lot. Gohl brought several options to the committee. A few months later, the focus group chose a health-care clinic for ministry in their service area.

Since that time, the clinic has been a collective faith effort for the church and community coming on board. And since their decision, members have witnessed miracle after miracle affirming their mission. Gohl, now executive director, notes everything for the project has been donated, from the countertops to services.

The church first received $3,000 from the Oregon Conference in seed money. Shortly after, the Vancouver Clinic, a nearby facility, donated 16 exam tables with an estimated worth of $36,000. A doctor with his own clinic donated smaller equipment. A local attorney helped write incorporation papers pro bono. The nearby Legacy Hospital agreed to provide free laboratory services. Local doctors and nurses (members and non-members) began volunteering time and skill. A local Adventist dentist donated equipment and expertise, and an optometrist came on board. The ECHO – Empowering Church Healthcare Outreach http://www.echoclinics.org/ an organization helping churches start free clinics, began providing free consultations. Volunteer Connections, a Human Services Council, began screening and managing volunteers. And other monetary gifts have poured in.

The clinic will serve chronic health-care needs for those without medical coverage and/or are below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Those served will live in the North Clark County area, which includes Battle Ground. Chronic-care treatment includes treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lung and heart diseases. Additionally the clinic will soon provide dental extractions, simple fillings and cleanings. Vision services will come later. In the waiting room, a volunteer will visit with people and serve as a prayer warrior or as one volunteer says "just love them up." The clinic hopes to eventually provide one-on-one counseling sessions for patient lifestyle changes and guidance.

"I am involved with the Battle Ground HealthCare Dental Clinic to assist in providing very basic dental to help meet needs and as a way to reflect the love of my savior Jesus Christ," says Steven D. Hokett, D.D.S., P.S.

"We see this [health care clinic] as being a community ministry, not only on the receiving end, but also for the volunteer providers," says Marsh. And Gohl adds, "We look forward to watching this community service grow with God's love."

To see if you qualify for medical care at the clinic, visit http://battlegroundhealthcare.org and go to "2010 Federal Poverty Level" link.

April 01, 2011 / Oregon Conference
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