That brief transformation was due to an Allegan County United Way effort to create a Volunteer Medical Corps to serve the underinsured, something organizers believe is the first of its kind in the state.
Using a $49,000 Volunteer Michigan grant, the largest of seven awarded throughout the state, the United Way purchased electronic medical records software, laptop computers and iPads and four portable exam tables in the lead-up to organizing the one-day free clinic.
United Way volunteer coordinator Karen Hancock-Owen said 32 individuals were given medical treatments between the clinic’s 9 a.m.-to-5 a.m. hours, though many more received ancillary services for needs such as family planning and mental health. The effort’s 76 volunteers were prepared to provide services for as many as 100 patients.
“It went wonderfully,” Hancock-Owen said. “People came in throughout the day.”
She said that in some cases, the clinic was able to provide help for more immediate problems.
Allegan County Health Department’s medical director, Dr. Rick Tooker, volunteered his time during the clinic and said it served to educate the patients.
“We’re trying to help them understand when they really “We’re trying to help them understand when they really need to seek medical help,” he said. “It’s a teachable moment.”