Arthur Nagel Community Clinic: The Caring Clinic
Guest Blogger: K. Irene Stone
Executive Director, Arthur Nagel Community Clinic
The man turned to our staff and volunteers as the EMS technicians loaded his injured wife onto the stretcher, and said, “You’re the clinic who cares.” He had come into our small medical facility in a panic, fearful for his wife who was suffering head trauma from an accident at home. They weren’t patients, they were just visiting their vacation home in the area, and this was the only place he knew to go. We got his wife into an exam room, started first aid treatment, and called EMS.
“The clinic who cares.” Perhaps not grammatical, but the words were heartfelt and crystal-clear. Those words still echo down the clinic hallway, the same hallway where I braved claustrophobia two years ago to walk down as the new Executive Director of the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic. I came because I believed this was the clinic that cared. I had no office, at least not one I could call my own, and as I walked through the narrow hallways, it became very clear that in order to keep caring we (1.) needed more room, and (2.) needed it now. That was then when we were only averaging 13 patients a day. We average 21 patients a day now, and that number continues to grow. There are 7,000 people in Bandera County who qualify for our services. They have no health insurance and little or no income. They may work, but they cannot get ahead or they are part of the recent unemployed because of the recession. We currently see a fraction of those who qualify, but if only a third of them suddenly descend on our little clinic, what will we do? Where will we put them? Who will treat them?
Last year we provided medical services to the Bandera community valued at $1.14 million. Over $500,000 of that was a free medication from our Prescription Assistance Program. With more patients come more supplies, prescriptions, paperwork, medical waste, and more healthcare professionals. The list grows as the numbers increase. But where do we put everything and everybody? We need more storage space, more offices, and more exam rooms. And we need safer work areas and better privacy for our patients. We have healthcare professionals who are willing to donate their services or write grants to cover their costs, but where can we put them? I have people eager to donate medical equipment and supplies, but I have no room to store their in-kind donations. I cannot fit all the volunteers who want to help in the current building so I made a waiting list. Foundation officers come for a visit, and we have to meet in the kitchen where we interrupt the staff’s normal routine. The list goes on and on.
I’ve adjusted to the tight space, and I converted an exam room for temporary office space, so I don’t feel claustrophobic anymore, but the underlying need to expand keeps intensifying. If we are to continue as “the clinic who cares,” we must complete the funding for the clinic’s expansion as soon as possible. To date we have received $237,000 toward the expansion and remodeling of the clinic, and are working hard to secure the remainder of funds needed to support this project.
In the long run, the clinic’s expansion will benefit your friends, neighbors, church members, and maybe even loved ones. To learn more about the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic in Bandera, Texas, visit www.nagelclinic.org.
Since inception, MHM has provided nearly $500 million in healthcare services through our clinics and programs, as well as through our partnerships. MHM is proud to partner with organizations that share our mission and organizational objective of delivering healthcare and social services to the least served in the South Texas region. By strengthening other organizations’ capacity to provide services, we achieve our overarching goal of increasing access to care.
The Arthur Nagel Community Clinic joined MHM’s family of funded partners in 2009. The Clinic provides free primary, preventive, mental, and dental healthcare services to the underserved residents of Bandera County. To date, MHM has provided over $266,000 in in funding to support the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic.