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Free, Christian-based medical center opens in Tallmadge


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Free, Christian-based medical center opens in Tallmadge

by Jeremy Nobile | Reporter

Tallmadge -- What began as a dream to provide free health care to the needy nearly 30 years ago has finally come to fruition for a couple of local doctors.

Stow residents Sue and Mark Meyer, owners of Northeast Family Healthcare in Tallmadge, opened Faithful Servants Care Center at 65 Community Road Suite F for its first day Oct. 1.

The Christian-based health care organization -- which reflects a culmination of collaborations between various religious, medical and educational institutions throughout the greater Akron area -- offers urgent-care services to uninsured and poverty-stricken individuals.

Mayor Dave Kline said the clinic is the first of its kind in Tallmadge. According to the Ohio Association of Free Clinics, there are more than 40 free healthcare clinics in Ohio.

"It's really important for us to live out our faith," Sue said. "This is about being able to take our biggest passion in the world and mix it with our other big passion of medicine. It's the best of any of the worlds for us."

Both Mark and Sue have an extensive history of mission work, but the new clinic provides the duo the chance to offer medical services to the needy closer to home.

"[Mission work] satisfied that dream a little bit, but we've always wanted to do something a little more permanent that would penetrate and serve our own community," said Mark.

"This is what we were created to do," Sue added.

A COMMUNITY EFFORT

The Meyers' dream to open a free health clinic in their own communities began during their medical training at the University of Cincinnati. At one time in 1980, students were visited by a speaker from Mississippi who founded a faith-based health center of his own that eventually branched out into six offices.

"He shared his vision with us and said when you're out there practicing, remember that you have a lot to give back to the community and here's a model that has really worked well in poor, rural Mississippi," Mark recalled. "So, that has been our dream all these years, but frankly, life just got in the way."

In early 2011, a suite in the building the Meyers own and have operated Northeast Family Health Care out of for 27 years became available.

The couple said that's when they knew the time was right to open a free clinic of their own.

"Since then, we've been overwhelmed by people coming forward and saying they like the idea and how can they help," Mark said.

Today, with support from universities, area churches and a variety of volunteers, the clinic has an available staff of 58 physicians and 60 nurses and nurse practitioners and even a few specialists, including an orthopedist.

"Individually, the Christian churches in our community offer many fine ministries, but this is a singularly focused ministry that can unite the various congregations in a meaningful way that makes an important difference," said the Rev. David Zachrich, pastor of Tallmadge Lutheran Church and one of Faithful Servants' eight board members.

Nearly 20 area churches are helping donate everything from materials used to renovate and furnish the office to volunteer personnel who act as nurses and even janitors.

Meanwhile, various supporting hospitals, including Akron Children's Hospital, Summa Health System, Robinson Memorial Hospital and Summa Western Reserve Hospital offer everything from doctors to medical equipment.

"This has been a reassurance that there are a lot of people out there that truly care," Mark said.

"God has poured his love into us, and it's our job to pour that love into others," he added.

The trio emphasized that the clinic will never have any scheduled or controlled drugs on site and won't prescribe them either.

However, the clinic does have a small supply of over-the-counter medications and antibiotics that can be made available to patients.

In the near future, Sue said the facility will have its own pharmacy, adding they already have the required proper permits.

"It's going to happen, it's just how soon we open that phase," said Sue.

"We want to make sure everything is running well first," Hoff added.

Hoff noted how the clinic as a whole will provide opportunities for students at medical schools like Northeast Ohio Medical University to work and gain experience at the center.

Sue said there are already 15 pharmacists interested in donating their time when that service is finally made available.

"It'll really be a nice bonus to free care," she said.

Email: jnobile@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400, ext. 4179

WHAT FAITHFUL SERVANTS OFFERS

Service at Faithful Servants, a non-profit organization, is available to any uninsured person of any faith in any area. Treatment is also offered to those living at 200 percent below the poverty level.

The clinic is open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week at its location across from the Tallmadge Branch Library.

There are no appointments. Patients are seen via walk-ins only.

Spiritual and emotional support is offered at the clinic, but not imposed, said Faithful Servants Administrator Dr. David Hoff

Dr. Mark Meyer emphasized the clinic focuses on urgent care and not continual care. Referrals will be made when necessary.

Services offered at Faithful Servants can benefit those suffering from sudden illnesses, such as colds, stomach pain, rashes and headaches, along with minor injuries like cuts, sprains and possible broken bones.

Blood pressure and diabetes checks are available, along with initial treatment for tooth or eye injuries or infections.

Anyone with life-threatening emergencies are always encouraged to call 911.

However, Hoff, a retired vice president of Robinson Memorial Hospital, said the clinic has an understanding with Tallmadge EMS that some patients with critical issues may arrive at their office.

Article Source: http://www.tallmadgeexpress.com/news/article/5220273

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This is in my back yard, so to speak.

My question is, would you go seek medical care at this facility? Would you recommend this facility to a brother or sister in need of urgent medical care who has no medical insurances?

The best answer gets a twinkie :P

Based on this "is available to any uninsured person of any faith in any area. Treatment is also offered to those living at 200 percent below the poverty level. " I'm saying no.

I had my son at Harris Methodist Hospital in Texas, it was kind of a nightmare. The doctors are super religious, and they gave me such a hassle about the no blood issue. One doctor said "I respect your religious beliefs, but you need to respect mine, and if you are dying, I refuse to treat you without blood. Either agree to blood or get another doctor" this was said minutes before my delivery, lol. Of course all the doctors there were super religious, not fun at all. Then after my son was born, he needed a blood transfusion, and the headache started all over again.

After that, I don't like going to hospitals with doctors who are super religious.

As to recommending medical treatment or care for friends, that is something I normally do not do. But if I knew a friend at the hall who didn't have medical insurance, I would probably suggest they at least check the place out.

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This is in my back yard, so to speak.

My question is, would you go seek medical care at this facility? Would you recommend this facility to a brother or sister in need of urgent medical care who has no medical insurances?

The best answer gets a twinkie :P

If I knew a brother or sister who needed health care & there circumstances where very hard up. I would.

I think it would be up to each persons conscience too.

I love the Movie Patch Adams staring Robbie Williams,,I think it is based on a true story, His services were free

& he loved to make the sick kids laugh, He liked to help people. I am for those sort of people.

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I would absolutely go there,thanks for the info and I would share the info with others and they can decide for themselves. Question Box 4/08 KM .

twinkie_070918_ms1_square_medium.jpg

I was thinking of that exact article, saying it is okay to take advantage of these services, even if they are provided by organizations owned by or in cahoots with BTG, since they are services rendered to the public.

The article above mentions that they offer a "service" which can be declined. I decline :P

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:eat: I got the twinkie! ...lol....my regular hospital is Mercy Medical thats where I just had my surgery two weeks ago,there are priests,nuns,crosses and stained glass windows with religious symbols.This is on their home page.

Mercy Medical Center of Canton Ohio

Mercy Medical Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio

This is part of their policy also....

Mercy recognized the potential health benefits of a bloodless approach and, in 2001, we began our own Blood Conservation / Bloodless Medicine program. Certified by the Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Institute.

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