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Free CARE Clinic to open Tuesday

The free health clnic serving Goodhue County residents who are low income and uninsured will be open Tuesday evenings at the former St. John's Hospital.

A free health care clinic serving low-income Goodhue County residents who have no health insurance will open Tuesday in the former St. John's Hospital, 1407 W. Fourth St.

The clinic will be open Tuesday evenings. People can line up starting at 4 p.m.; doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Staff anticipate they can serve 25 patients each evening, according to Neela Mollgaard, administrative director.

Known as the C.A.R.E. Clinic - Community, Access, Resources, Education - the program will provide primary care and referrals to local, county, state and federal programs.

Mollgaard explained the process.

When people arrive, they will sign in and complete some basic paperwork involving health history and general information.

Next, patients will meet with a volunteer resource coordinator, who will help determine if they are eligible for programs such as WIC, Minnesota Care, food programs, social service programs and many others. Eligibility for the CARE Clinic also will be established. People must be:

• Goodhue County residents

• Low-income (200 percent of poverty level or less)

• Uninsured

Providers expect to see patients between 6 and 8 p.m.

Dr. Dann Heilman is medical director, and Julie Malyon is clinical director.

"Over 89 volunteers are trained and ready," Mollgaard said. Each evening there will be volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants on duty. Other volunteers include intake workers, resource coordinators, lab techs, transcriptionists, nurses, greeters and interpreters to assist Latino patients. Many of them will work beyond clinic hours to accomplish their tasks.

Some other things patients should know:

• Location. The clinic is in the former hospital emergency room. The entrance is down a ramp on the right side of the building. Signs will be posted.

• Parking can be an issue, Mollgaard said. People are encouraged to park in the main lot on the left side of the Fairview Red Wing Professional Building. On-street parking is limited to two hours, plus some spots are designated for residential parking only, she said.

• Prescriptions. The clinic will not prescribe any narcotics, Mollgaard said. The organization is working with Corner Drug Store and the downtown EconoFoods to provide patients with the medications they need at no cost.

"Corner Drug has been a huge partner," she said.

The clinic is a grassroots community movement that has received major support from the Jones Family Foundation, Red Wing Area Foundation and United Way of Goodhue, Pierce & Wabasha Counties and "many, many individuals," Mollgaard said.

"We live in a very, very giving community," she said. "It's been very energizing."

The C.A.R.E. Clinic continues to accept donations and assistance from volunteers and partners. Call (651) 385-3370 and leave a message, or for more information to online to www.careclinicrw.com.

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