Salem Free Clinics-John McConville PDF Print E-mail

‘A SAFETY NET’ IN SALEM

Director says Salem Free Clinics plans to expand high-need services


John McConville was appointed the new executive director of Salem Free Clinics in June after serving as its interim leader since January. McConville began volunteering at the clinic in 2013 after retiring from the grocery business. He quickly took on leadership roles within the organization.

During the past few months, several nonprofits have gained new leaders. In a series of questions and answers that will run every other week, we ask these leaders about their vision for their organizations and the community. Here are McConville’s answers.

By Kaellen Hessel | Statesman Journal

What role does Salem Free Clinics play in our community’s health system?


“Salem Free Clinics serve as a safety net in the community’s health care system. Imagine facing a health crisis or illness without health insurance. It is frightening. We get to help uninsured patients without other viable medical care options. With over 5,000 patient visits per year, our clinics play a vital role in our community.”

What can the community expect to see you do during the next year?


“In the next year, Salem Free Clinics will expand services that are in highest demand. We are recruiting and training a larger interpreter services team. We are adding a care-management piece to our popular diabetes specialty services. We are collaborating with our partner, Corban University, to make our counseling program as accessible as possible. We are actively working to increase our dental-services capacity and hope to add a dental-hygiene component to our care.”

What is your vision for Salem Free Clinics’ future?

“Salem Free Clinics began 10 years ago with a doctor, a nurse and a few volunteers who had a heart to help those in need. Today, our almost 400 volunteers embody that same passion to sacrifice their time and energy to provide health care to those who otherwise have no viable health care options. As we look to the future, Salem Free Clinics intends to continue meeting those needs in an ever-changing health care environment. We are continually evaluating how the clinic can best meet our patients’ needs in the ever-changing health care area.”

What are the biggest problems facing the Mid-Valley?

“Providing access to health care for the uninsured remains a huge issue. While the Affordable Care Act reduced the number of uninsured, Oregon Health Authority officials estimate there are still 32,000 people in Marion and Polk counties without health insurance as of December 2014. Salem Free Clinics allows the uninsured access to needed health care. Three of the biggest health problems in the community are mental health, diabetes management and dental care.”


In 10 years, where would you like to see our community? How can Salem Free Clinics be a part of making this a reality?

“The Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 initiative presents intriguing goals for the Mid-Valley. In general, these goals relate to promoting a high quality of life, free of preventable disease and achieving health equality among all groups. Salem Free Clinics is, and can be, an even greater resource to help meet these goals. There will always be people who fall through the cracks and won’t have health insurance. We intend to increase our care for uninsured individuals and also increase our collaboration with Salem Health and other organizations. We want to provide preventive health screenings for at-risk under-served populations. Through health education, the collaboration of health-care organizations and the commitment of the community, we can become a healthier city.”

What does Salem Free Clinics do well? What can it improve on?

“Being faith-based, Salem Free Clinics strives to treat our patients in a compassionate and holistic manner, providing prayer for those who request it. We do volunteerism well: Our almost 400 volunteers contributed more than 31,000 hours of time last year — the equivalent of 15 full-time employees. We also do patient care very well. Our providers and volunteers are afforded the opportunity to spend as much time with a patient as necessary. Our patients are extremely grateful to be treated with respect by volunteers who genuinely care about their well-being.

One area where the clinic can improve is publicizing our availability to sick and hurting people. We can provide quality, compassionate health care at no cost to patients, and we want them to know we are available.”

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (503) 399-6743 or follow on Twitter @KaellenHessel

 

 
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