Free health clinic to open at its new Ferndale building next month

Aug 24, 2011 Issues: Health Care

Nearly four years after a group of city volunteers decided to open a free health clinic here for the uninsured, the permanent FernCare building is ready to open next month.

U.S. Congressman Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak), who helped get a $148,000 federal grant for the clinic, joined FernCare Board President Ann Heler and representatives from Ferndale, Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods and Southfield for a hard-hat tour Monday evening for a tour of the 2,100-square-foot clinic at 459 E. Nine Mile Road.

Heler, along with residents John Sterritt, Dick and Joann Willcock, and Councilwoman Kate Baker, first decided to mount the effort to bring a free clinic here back in November 2007. They and other volunteers have raised a total of more than $130,000 locally to make the clinic a reality.

“This is a great story of community support and involvement,” Heler said. “We easily have 200 people on our list of volunteers — and that includes doctors, nurses, lab staff and pharmacy staff.”

FernCare has been operating at the Kulick Community Center, 1201 Livernois, since the clinic first opened a year ago.

The clinic now has 170 patients and has logged 600 patient visits since it opened. The clinic at the community center is open from 9 a.m. to noon the first and third Saturday of each month.

Heler said the clinic is expected to expand its hours once its permanent building opens.

“We won’t be taking on any new patients until then,” she said.

The clinic’s staff is hosting an open forum at the new building from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday to answer questions from potential patients and neighbors in the area.

FernCare is one of only four free health clinics in Oakland County and 53 statewide.

The clinic is for people ages 19 to 64 for uninsured patients. Volunteer staff members offer medical care, benefits counseling, basic lab testing and generic prescription medication.

All visits are by appointment only. Call (248) 677-2273.