The Payson Christian Clinic is celebrating not only the holiday season, but more importantly its expansion from a mere 400 square feet to 2,000 square feet at its 701 S. Ponderosa St. site.
The celebration is in the form of an open house planned from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12.
The clinic has served 6,000 patients in the three full years it has been open, said Dr. Judith Hunt, president of the board and one of the doctors who volunteers time to the facility.
In addition to medical care, the clinic provides counseling, a nutritionist and has visiting specialists.
“We also have a group of prayer volunteers who help us take care of the whole patient,” Hunt said.
Taking care of the “whole patient” is paramount in the clinic’s mission. Its brochure states the clinic’s mission in this way: “Share the love of Christ through providing whole-person healthcare to the medically underserved; Train Christian healthcare professionals in providing whole-person care; and network with the local medical community, churches, civic organizations, and governmental agencies.”
The brochure also highlights the need for the clinic:
• Increasing numbers of people are being priced out of health care and insurance.
• Many, including expectant mothers, children and elderly are going without primary healthcare.
• Expensive emergency rooms are being used by those without insurance for free primary or urgent healthcare.
• Up to 1/3 of the population of Gila County are without medical insurance.
• Gila County has the second lowest number of physicians per capita in Arizona.
The clinic’s hours for medical service are from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, some Thursday nights there are also clinic hours. Counseling is available Fridays and Saturdays and specialists see patients on the weekends, some coming from the Valley, Hunt said.
Assisting the 10 doctors is a corps of 35 staff — also volunteers, including nurses, technicians, front and back office personnel and the group providing prayers.
“They’re incredible,” Hunt said of the volunteers.
“They are here with smiles on their faces and never ask when it’s time to go home, even though it can be late at night when we are done with the last patient,” Hunt said.
She added the support for the clinic from the community has been never ending. “Money and supplies are donated throughout the year,” Hunt said.
“The churches have been wonderful,” she added. “Many contribute funds and supplies on a monthly basis.”
Hunt said many of the clinic’s patients have lost their jobs along with the insurance coverage they had from their employer, but they don’t qualify for assistance from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).
“They walk in the building and can’t believe we care so much. They walk in and expect a drab place and overworked volunteers, but get the best from people who truly care,” Hunt said.
Patients are charged a $20 fee, but if they can’t pay it, it is taken care of, she said.
Often those who are given care at no charge pay $40 if they make a return visit; some even give $80 on a return visit, telling the staff to use it for someone else who can’t pay.
The clinic pays for any lab work a patient may need and has arranged for reduced rates for radiology.
“If we have to refer to specialists, those in town are wonderful in providing care at a reduced rate,” Hunt said.
She said Walmart, Bashas’ and the Apothecary (Pharmacy) have all been wonderful with the $4 prescription plans.
The Payson Christian Clinic is a 501 (c) 3 organization and a certified charity for which tax credits can be obtained for contributions of up to $200 for an individual and $400 for married couples.
Send donations, made payable to Payson Christian Clinic, 701 S. Ponderosa, Suite D, Payson, AZ 85541. To learn more, go online to paysonchristianclinic.com.