A Radically Inclusive Free Medical Clinic for Everyone
The signs say POINT WASHINGTON MEDICAL CLINIC with arrows pointing toward the Point Washington United Methodist Church located at 1290 N. Co Hwy 395 on the Bay side. I followed the arrows to the front door one day, met by the welcoming smiles of Dr. Patsy Vargo, MD and Hillary Glenn, DNP, ARNP-BC. Eager to know more, I sat down with them to talk about their hopes and dreams for the medical clinic and the people they serve.
After being introduced by a mutual friend, Dr. Vargo and Hillary knew they were a good match for working together to create a special mission-centered medical clinic that served everyone in the community. After many planning meetings and with support from the Point Washington United Methodist Church, Point Washington Medical Clinic became a reality. The clinic operates with donated space from the church, currently, open on Wednesdays only from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm.
The mission of the clinic is to “provide quality medical care in a non-traditional setting.” Along with four volunteer nurses, a translator, and other trained volunteers, all with the goal of serving others, Dr. Vargo and Hillary offer kind and compassionate care to each patient. The clinic aims to serve people who may not have access to medical care otherwise. These include people who work in the service industry or individuals who just can’t afford the high cost of health insurance.
But, says Dr. Vargo, “We are radically inclusive. ALL people are welcome.” So if you happen to see the signs and need to stop in for a blood pressure check, but wonder if you “qualify,” no worries. Because the clinic chooses to include everyone who needs medical care, they accept no government funding or grants. Services are free, but donations are appreciated. If you would like to make a general donation to the clinic, click on the donate button here.
Upon entering the clinic, patients sign in at a registration table. There are no questions about income or things like social security numbers needed in order to be seen by the medical staff. Donated exam tables separated by dividers create “rooms” so each patient has privacy during their visit with Dr. Vargo or Hillary. In order to provide continuity of care, each patient is given a health passport on their first visit. Health information is logged into their passport at each visit and then given back to them for safe keeping.
The clinic offers a multitude of services for all ages, including Primary Care, general wellness, wound cleaning, draining of abscesses and treatment of simple infections, such as ear or sinus infections. Management of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are offered when indicated. Additionally, limited prenatal care is provided, including pregnancy tests and listening to fetal heartbeats with a Doppler. Child-related medical needs addressed at the clinic include sports physicals, ear infections, simple injuries and general illness.
Dr. Vargo and Hillary continue to mold the clinic to meet the needs of the patients that walk through their doors. Their long-term vision for the clinic includes extended hours and days and having a stand-alone building. In addition to accepting donations, they are finalizing the details of a fundraiser they plan to host on October 5th. Stay tuned to their website here thepwmc.org for details on how to get tickets to the fundraiser and help support their efforts to be all-inclusive when offering medical services to the community.
If you liked this article, you might be interested in learning about more local heroes at the South Walton Professional Firefighters Association.