New clinic serves homeless
Published: October 11, 2012
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A new St. Thomas pilot program to provide health care for the homeless brought together a variety of residents, doctors and nurses who volunteered their services on Saturday to see 25 patients at a remodeled clinic at Bethlehem House.
Among the people who teamed up for the initiative were first lady Cecile DeJongh; Dr. George Rosenberg; Michael Akin, executive director of Catholic Charities; Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch; and representatives from the V.I. Human Services and V.I. Health departments. The program was funded by private donations from the medical and nonprofit sectors.
"There is clearly a need for these services, and the medical community, in particular, is incredibly enthusiastic about being able to provide this type of personalized, high-quality care," deJongh said in a statement issued by Government House. "We look forward to holding clinic hours every month, and eventually expanding operations to St. Croix and St. John."
The next clinic is scheduled for Nov. 10 at Bethlehem House.
The clinic featured various areas - including a registration area and separate spaces labeled "vital signs," "flu shots" and "exam room."
Doctors and nurses staffed the areas from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Rotary Club of St. Thomas II provided its regularly scheduled Saturday lunch for clients of Bethlehem House, which was available to patients.
The clinic includes former storage rooms that were remodeled by members of My Brother's Workshop, including Edmund Armstrong, Shaeem Miller, Nathaniel Washington, and Orville Williams, who were on-site for the clinic's opening.
Scott Bradley, director of My Brother's Workshop, and his team installed new lights, electrically wired the exam room, put in an air-conditioning unit, remodeled the interior walls, and painted the areas where patients are being seen.
Saturday's medical volunteers included Rosenberg, surgeon Frank Odlum, Dr. Luis Amaro, emergency room doctor Robin Ellett and nurses and administrative staff. In addition, Dr. James Clayton of Red Hook Family Medical Group donated electric medical records software and printers; the Health Department donated personnel and flu vaccines; and the V.I. Personnel Department provided medical supplies through a $2,500 grant from Cigna Insurance.
Supplies for the reconstruction were donated by MSI Building Supplies, Sea Chest and Appliance Plus.