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By Tracy Harris
Landmark News Service
The waiting room at the Hope Health Clinic in Oldham County was crowded Monday morning — but it wasn’t full of patients.
It was packed with excited supporters, volunteers and workers, all there for a special announcement.
“They always told me to speak softly and carry a big check,” said Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
She presented the clinic with a $100,000 matching grant — and the clinic will receive that amount the next two years as well, for a total of $300,000.
Zepeda said “broad-based community support” for the clinic made it an obvious choice for the grant.
Rick Davidson, board chair of the clinic, said the grant is a milestone for the clinic.
“This is an emotional day,” he said. “Its been a long journey, but the Lord has blessed us over and over and over again.”
The clinic will serve uninsured residents of Oldham, Henry, Trimble and Carroll counties — more than 13,000 individuals. While Oldham County shares the state average of 19 percent uninsured, Henry and Trimble counties are well over that mark at 25 and 22 percent.
“With this grant coming into play, what we’ve been hoping for and praying for has finally arrived,” Davidson said.
In September, the clinic opened on a limited basis, but the grant will fund the hiring of a full-time nurse practitioner to be at the clinic Monday through Friday. Volunteer physicians also provide care.
To start, the clinic has been open on Tuesday evenings and two Wednesday afternoons per month. After six clinics, 93 patients have been treated.
Marsha Biven, assistant vice president of Baptist Hospital Northeast, said the clinic will be a hub to meet not just physical ailments, but mental, spiritual and emotional needs as well.
That stems in part from the support of the Oldham County Ministerial Association, which will be the clinic’s governing body.
“The way we’re doing this with the ministerial association just gives me goose bumps,” said Dr. Madonna Ringswald, the clinic’s medical director. “Let’s all have a passion for this — I do.”
Oldham Judge-Executive David Voegele said the clinic is a “wonderful manifestation of treating other people the way we would want to be treated.”
The clinic has six exam rooms, a lab and office area. Director Bob Hamilton, who brings 14 years of health care experience to the clinic, hopes one room will eventually become a dental clinic.
One office is equipped with a computer that will be used to register qualifying patients for the Kentucky Prescription Access Program, which helps identify sources of free and low-cost medications.
Currently the lab can only do minimal testing, but Hamilton said a partnership with LabCorps is being finalized.
The non-profit clinic also received $20,000 from Metro United Way, $10,000 from Oldham County Fiscal Court and $2,500 from the La Grange Rotary Club.
Hope Health Clinic is actively seeking volunteers, both medical and administrative, as well as donations.
Appointments are required for clinic treatment. For information call (502) 225-6711 or visit HopeHealthClinicKY.com.