Community clinic in West Branch receives $30K grant toward free primary care services

What’s happening: A West Branch community clinic for the uninsured is better equipped to serve the residents of Ogemaw County and its neighboring counties, this thanks to a significant grant award that was announced earlier this month. The North Central Michigan Community Foundation has awarded the Ogemaw Hills Free Clinic with a $30,000 grant in support of its health programming and services.

Who they are: The Ogemaw Hills Free Clinic is located in West Branch and serves the residents of Ogemaw and neighboring counties, offering free primary medical care to those adults who are 18 years old and older, don’t have health insurance, and/or whose income is below the Federal Poverty Level. Eligible counties include Alcona, Arenac, Crawford, Gladwin, Iosco, Ogemaw, Oscoda, and Roscommon. Their range of free services include lab work, x-rays, prescriptions, at-home medical supplies, diabetic testing kits, emergency food packages, and more. Free medical supplies are also available to members of those communities regardless of income or insurance status.

Why it’s important: “This grant will enable us to better serve our current patients and provide needed healthcare to a greater number of underserved individuals in our community. The greatest impact will be healthier people – and that is good for our community and beyond,” says Laura Schorn of Ogemaw Hills Free Clinic. “It will help to relieve people of the financial stress of obtaining healthcare and the loss of workdays, especially due to chronic illnesses and poor health outcomes due to lack of medical care. With that will come the peace of mind in knowing they do not have to battle their health issues alone.”

How it happened: The North Central Michigan Community Foundation (NCMCF) used funds from the Jim and Loretta Howard Fund to award the $30,000. The NCMCF holds the permanently endowed fund on behalf of Jim and Loretta Howard, who established the fund in 2005. A planned gift from the Howards’ estate bolstered the fund in 2015. The Jim and Loretta Howard Fund is one of many permanently endowed funds the NCMCF manages in the region, a unique way for residents and organizations to ensure their legacies continue to make an impact in North Central Michigan for years to come.

What they’re saying: “This grant is a great example of the impact that can be made for an organization, and for the communities it serves when someone who cares wants to give back. It is a true testament to the power of endowment,” says Community Foundation Executive Director, Patrick Heraghty. “Since this Howards established this fund, it has provided more than $80,000 to support hospice care – the cause closest to their hearts. Today, this significant grant will help even more area residents to get access to health-related needs they might not otherwise be able to obtain.”

The Ogemaw Hills Free Clinic is located at 2106 S. Gray Rd. in West Branch.

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