Clinic with a Heart (CWH) is more than a clinic. Since 2003, they have been providing hope and healthcare to uninsured and underinsured patients in the community. Their volunteers provide a variety of clinic offerings, from medical and dental, to mental health and dermatology.
To continue being a bright light in the community, meant keeping the lights on and the doors open. This was no easy task when nonprofit organizations were struggling to hold usual fundraisers. Annual events that were once held in-person, had to be altered or cancelled completely. Nonprofits needed help to continue operating and serving their communities. For CWH this was possible, in part, thanks to an Open Door Grant from the Lincoln Community Foundation.
“The people we serve are the most vulnerable in the first place,” said Teresa Harms, the Executive Director of the clinic. “If you close this door, what are you doing to them? Those were some hard conversations to have.”
In February of 2020, CWH received a $7,500 Open Door Grant from the Lincoln Community Foundation to assist with operational expenses. Open Door Grants are designed to respond to the needs and opportunities within the community in a timely manner for local nonprofits.
For CWH, the timing could not have been better. Due to the pandemic, the organization was forced to cancel their annual Prescription for Hope fundraiser and went through significant transformations to operate safely. The Open Door Grant enabled the clinic to continue meeting the needs of the community’s most vulnerable patient populations.
The clinic provided 2,938 visits to patients, and volunteers contributed 239 telehealth visits to patients and more than 10,500 total hours of service. They adopted electronic forms and telehealth services that asked patients questions about social determinants of health. These are variables that impact overall health, such as access to food, clothing, and shelter. Based on patient responses, the clinic was able to provide information on available resources to mitigate negative health outcomes. They also invested in air purification systems to allow dental visits to resume safely.
“In a time like this, when our organization was disrupted considerably, we were able to continue serving some of the most vulnerable members of the community,” said Harms.
This service has been around for nearly two decades, but at a time when hospitals and emergency rooms were overburdened, the importance of reducing hospital stress while addressing health disparities could not be overstated.
“That has always been the role of Clinic with a Heart since the beginning,” explained Harms. “But I would say it is even more so at this time.”