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Loving Hands Clinic
148 Maple Grove Rd
Lapeer, MI 48446

Located at the south end of MapleGrove Church [directions]

Hours by appointment only

Phone: 810.667.8933

Clinic to offer dental screenings

Oct 29th, 2007 | 0

Free health care clinic serves uninsured adults in county

Uninsured adults will have an option for maintaining dental hygiene at local clinic.

Loving Hands, a local medical clinic providing care for uninsured adults, is expanding. Located in Maple Grove Church in Lapeer Township, Loving Hands is expected to include dental screenings among its offerings later this year.

Dr. Nancy Brinker, clinic medical director, said the need for a free health clinic like Loving Hands is great.

“We’re open one day a week and we have a waiting list,” Brinker said. “We have some dental help coming. We’ll have a dental chair and some dentists who will work outside of their own offices. We have referred some patients to Genesee County.”

Maple Grove Church Pastor Gary Gillim said the clinic, which serves uninsured adults, is the best kept secret in Lapeer County. He said its eventual goal is to be open 5 days a week.

“We provide the space and let them run the clinic. God has provided the free clinic,” he said.

Loving Hands recently received a $34,000 grant from Blue Cross that will be the seed money for the dental program. So far this year, the clinic has received more than $100,000 in grants, including $10,000 from the Four County Community Foundation, $5,900 from the Michigan Department of Community Health, and $5,000 from Health Plus of Michigan.

Loving Hands, named by Port Huron nurse practitioner Karen Kegler, started in July 2004 out of a small trailer donated by the Capac Boy Scouts. It stocked medical supplies collected by five churches. Later that first year, MapleGrove Church offered the clinic a permanent home. In now occupies a professional space inside the church. The clinic facility is a waiting area, reception area, three exam rooms, counseling area, and office space for the staff.

Loving Hands mission is to offer non-emergency medical care to uninsured adults in the Lapeer area using a 74 member volunteer professional staff.

The clinic’s services include the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the follow up for treatment of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, referrals and consultation, limited lab work, prescriptions for medications (patients are responsible for the cost), health education, and spiritual guidance.

Liz Gillim and her father, MapleGrove Church Pastor Gary Gillim, make up the clinics spiritual team.

“We have a team to create an atmosphere and a place to be comfortable,” Liz said. “People come from difficult situations. A lot of them have unusual life changes. We try to provide an environment where they feel better. People who come here are frustrated.”

Gary Gillim said the spiritual support team serves patients coffee and encourages them.

“Many of the people who come to the clinic haven’t been to the doctor. The clinic is for uninsured or for the under insured,” he said. “When someone comes to the clinic they can expect to be loved.”

Loving Hands assists patients in contracting pharmaceutical companies to obtain free or low-cost prescriptions. The clinic offers medical care to the uninsured individuals whose income falls at 200% of the poverty level as defined by the federal government.

The clinic employs one person, Cathy Johnson, the clinic administrator.

Johnson said since 2004, the clinic has seen more than 1,000 patients. Those who are Medicare patients and children are ineligible to receive the care.

“We are independent non-profit. This year we think we’ll donate $160,000 in services,” Johnson said.

Last year, the clinic served more than 600 people using 1820 hours of volunteer time. Currently, the clinic serves close to 1,000 patients, while remaining open one day a week. The clinic expects to soon be open two days a week with added volunteer nurse practitioners.

Brinker said Loving Hands addresses a shortfall for the working poor and others who fall between the cracks.

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“I’d say 40-50% are employed, but have no insurance. Some have gotten out of prison. We have a lot of patients who were able to get on Medicare.”

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The clinic has been recognized with the 2006 President’s Award Citation by the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the 2007 Rainmaker Award by Health Plus of Michigan.

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Clinic officials said there wish list includes a computer system and a heavy duty copy machine.

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For more information on Loving Hands Clinic, visit their Web site www.lovinghandsclinic.org. To make an appointment call (810) 667-8933.

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Jennifer Decker can be reached at 664-0811, Ext. 8125 or jennifer.decker@lapeergroup.com

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