People’s Health Clinic now open five days a week
August 12, 2016
Beth Armstrong had heard many inspiring stories about the People's Health Clinic changing people's lives for the better. When she took over as executive director, she wondered how long it would take to see it firsthand.
She didn't have to wait long.
Armstrong, who replaced former executive director Nann Worel less than a month ago, described the experience. She was meeting with a man who had missed multiple appointments without canceling in the hopes she could prevent it from happening again. She began by asking him about himself, in an effort to understand his situation.
The man eventually confided in her that he has anxiety. She asked if he knew the clinic offers mental health services. He didn't.
Now he does. And he's receiving treatment.
"Later, his physician came and told me that it meant so much to him that I'd cared enough to ask him about it and talk to him about it," she said. "It's that little thing — he went to his physician and felt free to tell him about his anxiety."
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Armstrong is hopeful the clinic will be creating an even greater amount of success stories like that in the future. The non-profit clinic, which provides no-cost care for people in Summit and Wasatch Counties without health insurance, recently received a $200,000 donation from Intermountain Healthcare to expand its schedule.
The clinic used to be open three days a week but is now operating Monday through Friday. The weekly schedule is as follows: Monday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Armstrong expressed gratitude to Intermountain Healthcare and said the importance of expanding the clinic's availability cannot be overstated. If a person gets sick on a Thursday evening, they no longer have to either wait until Tuesday or go to the emergency room. Additionally, the new schedule provides more flexibility for patients whose jobs have prevented them from utilizing the clinic.
"We tried to see all our patients in those three days, pack everybody in," she said. "And that didn't work with some people's work schedules. These are people who have at least one job — most have two and some have three. For them to find the time with only three days of availability, that was tough. They were so limited. So now it gives them a little bit more flexibility. We think we're going to see a lot more of the people who just couldn't make the time to see us before."
Armstrong added that, on a personal level, joining the clinic has been an incredible experience. She touted its importance to the community. Without it, uninsured residents who become pregnant or who have chronic illnesses — or hundreds of other scenarios — would have nowhere else to turn. The hospital bills, she said, would be overwhelming.
Instead, they come to the People's Health Clinic, which is staffed by a small group of employees and more than 150 volunteers, including physicians who donate their services. Armstrong, who ran hospitals before moving to Park City and who serves on the Park City Medical Center's governing board, said being part of it has been "overwhelming."
"I'm so proud of what we offer," she said. "This is not just a charitable effort where we're giving something and doing it on a piecemeal basis. This is a very quality organization."
The challenge now is getting the news out about the expanded schedule, she said. While the clinic serves people of all backgrounds, many low-income families who utilize the services don't have regular computer access to find out about the change. Armstrong hopes the community can spread the word.
"We're trying to get the word out every way we can," she said.
The People's Health Clinic is set to hold its Healthy Laughs fundraiser Sept. 4. Tickets are $110. The clinic will also hold its Walk and Wine for Women's Health Sept. 25. For more information on those events, visit peopleshealthclinic.org.
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