Story of Hope | Medical Clinic Support

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Imagine that you fall off your bike and get a nasty cut. Naturally, you might rush to the Emergency Room for stitches. But what do you do if you are homeless and don’t have the resources or insurance? You might dash over to the Marian House to see a medical professional at the SET Homeless Clinic, where they can stitch you up and give you the medicine you need, all free of charge on a walk-in basis M-F, 11 am – 1 pm.

The SET Homeless Clinic, one of several SET Family Medical Clinics throughout Colorado Springs, provides healthcare to the uninsured and under-insured five days a week.  Jason Jones, Clinic Coordinator, says, “Not everyone who comes through the soup kitchen is homeless.  We have a lot of low-income seniors and working poor, and because of that, most of the people we see are over fifty.” Most frequent ailments include abscessed teeth, cuts, infected fingers, and asthma.  The volunteer staff also assists clients in accessing other healthcare resources, providing hygiene products, and conducting a sock exchange to help in preventative care.  The clinic dispenses over-the-counter pain medication and provides health education as well.

When a client first walks through the doors of the Marian House, they may be met by a Client Navigator who directs them to the services they need. If it is medical assistance, acute or otherwise, they either meet with someone at the SET Clinic or with the Penrose-St. Francis Faith Community Nurse.  The SET Clinic serves as the foundation for medical services at the Marian House; however, the client must have some form of insurance to get other services, like mental health care.  Centura Health and Peak Vista are on site several days a week to help enroll clients in Medicaid and SNAP.  Once the clients have Medicaid, they can access AspenPointe to receive behavioral health care.

The extensive support and network of partners in the local community help Catholic Charities uphold its core values and principles of human dignity, the common good, and solidarity with the poor. Velda Baker, a Penrose-St. Francis Faith Community Nurse works two days a week at the Marian House.  She says, “To be able to treat the whole person, not just the burned hand or the sprained ankle, but to treat the whole person, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, is a very important component of this job.” She provides a professional assessment for everyone who sees her for an appointment. If a client comes in for one specific reason, through thorough questioning, Velda would be able to determine additional problems and connect them to appropriate resources. She also provides flu vaccines at least twice a year at Flu Shot Clinics held at the Marian House.

Every one of the medical or health providers at the Marian House educates and reiterates the importance of seeking care for their clients and will often walk them through the entire process of calling and setting up appointments for follow-up visits with primary care providers in the community.

Michael Branscum, a clinician therapist for AspenPointe’s homeless outreach team, says, “I do everything here from triage to figuring out what people’s needs are, to connecting them to the services they need: crisis intervention, therapy, case management, substance abuse, pretty much anything.” The Marian House is a one-stop shop for clients to meet most medical needs as well as basic needs, such as food and clothing. Here, they are afforded the unique opportunity to see medical practitioners for an assortment of issues, from a sore throat to schizophrenia.

Rochelle Schlortt, Chief Communications Officer of Catholic Charities, said, “When we built the new Marian House facility, it was important to include exam rooms for the SET Medical Clinic as well as flexible office space for the many medical and community partners we wanted to have located in the facility.  We wanted a one-stop shop approach so that when someone came to Marian House for a meal, they could tap into other critical services without ever leaving the building.  Most of our health partners work with anyone regardless of what insurance they may or may not have. So having a partner who provides acute care is critical for people with chronic cough, flu, and frostbite, particularly in the winter months, because these conditions can be treated at the Marian House and divert people from the emergency rooms and keep illnesses from morphing into something more serious.”

Every month, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, including seniors and anyone who cannot afford co-pays or a hospital visit, come to Catholic Charities’ Marian House, where partners provide them with courteous, personalized care.  These are people who have slipped through the cracks, and the Marian House is their safety net, which catches them before they fall into more serious health problems.

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