Supporting the Stehouwer Free Clinic

“To everyone at the Stehouwer Free Clinic, I am so thankful for all that you do to help me. If it were not for you, I would have so many overwhelming health complications and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You all are a true blessing from God.”    – Heather, a patient served by the Stehouwer Free Clinic

Dear Friends of the Stehouwer Free Clinic,

Like me, you’re probably one of the fortunate ones in our community – you have enough to eat, a roof over your head, a decent job, adequate transportation, and even health insurance.  You understand the feeling of security these blessings provide to you and your family.

However, there are people in our community – our neighbors, friends, fellow church goers – people like Heather, who are not so fortunate.  For them, the Stehouwer Free Clinic is their health care life line… a place where they can go as needed to address their most urgent health care concerns.

According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 11.4% of the people in Michigan have no health insurance coverage of any kind.   In Wexford County, it is estimated that 18.8% of people between 18-64 years of age are uninsured; in Missaukee and Osceola Counties, the rate of uninsured is 22.1% and 20.3%, respectively, for the same age group.

What your help means

            Your charitable gifts to the Stehouwer Free Clinic help hard-working people stay healthy enough to work. You might be surprised to know the typical patient treated at the Clinic is employed, but earns a low hourly wage and has annual income of $22,980 or less (200% of the poverty line). Many hold two or three part-time jobs, some even have full-time jobs, but none receive health insurance as a benefit.

How you make a difference

            In 2012, thanks to gifts from donors like you, as well as 5,529 hours of volunteer service by doctors, nurses, and others, the Stehouwer Free Clinic provided 6,442 patient visits.  These people received treatment for many illnesses like bronchitis, strep throat, infections, depression, and injuries such as lacerated fingers and sprains, and even minor surgeries for life-threatening conditions such as melanoma. Others received ongoing treatment for chronic situations like diabetes and high blood pressure, as volunteer clinicians and staff work diligently to find them a permanent medical home.

Additionally, through the Clinic’s Medication Access Program (MAP) 4,009 free medication prescriptions, valued at $1,965,719 were provided to 612 MAP clients in 2012.  Securing these medications requires a lot of diligence and paperwork, but that’s what the Free Clinic is all about!

You’re offering a hand up, not a hand out 

            As you consider how you’ll direct your charitable giving, please consider how much more you can do to help uninsured, hard-working people in Wexford, Missaukee, and Osceola Counties by sending a special, tax-deductible gift to the Stehouwer Free Clinic.

When you consider the size of your gift, please think about the magnitude and the importance of the challenge we’re facing:

  • In Wexford County, 25.4% of all families with children under 5 are below the poverty line.  In Missaukee County and Osceola County, the poverty rate is 23% and 29.8%, respectively for the same group.  Poverty is closely linked to the absence of health insurance.
  • According to The Washington Post, while the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) will extend health care coverage to 25 million Americans over the next decade, according to the most recent government estimates, that will still leave a projected 31 million people without insurance by 2023. (“Left behind: Stories from Obamacare’s 31 million uninsured”, 9-8-13.)
  • From 2011 to 2012, visits to the Stehouwer Free Clinic increased by 59% to 6,442 visits. From 2010 to 2011, visits to the Stehouwer Free Clinic increased by nearly 100%.

Please take a moment right now to write as generous a check as you can or go to the Fund-Raising tab and click on DONATE NOW. As the Stehouwer Free Clinic volunteer medical director, I can assure you your gift will be used wisely and effectively to help meet the health care needs of the people in our community who need it most.

With my warmest regards and best wishes for your health and happiness in 2014,

         Helen Kiomento, MD ~Volunteer Medical Director, Stehouwer Free Clinic

 P.S.  Your dollar is stretched amazingly far at the Stehouwer Free Clinic!  In 2012, 6,442 patient visits were accomplished on a budget of just $155,305, or approximately $24 per visit.  That covers staff wages, rent, supplies, everything!  We couldn’t have this kind of impact without your caring support.


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