Golf scramble benefits Garden City Community Clinic

GARDEN CITY - Our nation's healthcare system is on the verge of a massive overhaul.

By next year, how all of us receive insurance coverage is going to change, especially for those who've never had health insurance.

For those who don't have health insurance, when an emergency happens, they often end up in hospital emergency rooms.

Hospital costs go up to cover the bills patients can't pay and insurance premiums often go up.

The national healthcare plan is looking to change that.

But as KBOI-TV found out, one local clinic is already getting a jump start, by treating the uninsured well before it gets to the emergency stage.

"So this used to be a glass warehouse and we like to say this is the miracle on 35th Street because everything behind this wall used to be open warehouse," said Steven Reames.

Genesis World Mission Executive Director Steven Reames leads us around the Garden City Community Clinic like a proud parent.

For more than a decade, the staff has served what he calls the working poor.

Virtually everyone volunteers their time to provide healthcare to those who can't pay.

"Our clinic services cover primary health, basic dental care, counseling, social work, medication systems and just in general, care coordination of the whole patient, and the beautiful thing is, we get to do it all under one roof," he said.

To qualify, patients must have household incomes less than twice the federal poverty guideline.

That means a family of four, with an income of less than 47-thousand-dollars a year, is likely eligible.

"They're not just sitting around doing nothing," he said. "They're working their tails off and they're having a hard time providing and getting access to medical care."

Patients are asked to give a donation: five dollars for medical care, and 15 to 30 for dental.

The facility also has two mental health conference rooms.

"The beauty of it is that we can stream together mental health right alongside primary care," Reames said.

One of the biggest perks: a medication room where people can get over-the-counter or prescription drugs.

"In some of our surveys, the biggest thing they say that they appreciate about our clinic is that they can access to our medications," he said.

Reames takes us to a room where all of the dental work is done.

And here, he put the clinic's services into perspective.

"They're going to be given antibiotics, maybe painkillers, and if they don't get that tooth pulled or that infection resolved they're going to end up in the ER three weeks later," he said. "So we're actually creating a dental specialist network so we can take those patients from the ER before they even get there and get them off that specialty care- get the tooth pulled or the root canal, get that taken care of so they can stay out of the ER altogether."

Reames says the bigger healthcare picture isn't just about their patients.

It's about how it affects all of society.

"They can't get a job, and so they can't afford their heating bill or they can't afford to buy food for their family - sometimes they lose custody of their children it is a cascading impact," said medical clinic director Tamara Fredrickson, R.N.

Which is why you'll find the providers at the Garden City Community Clinc are more than happy to be called volunteers.

"For many of our doctors, one of the things that we often hear from them is: 'I come and volunteer at the clinic to remind me of why I went to medical school in the first place'," Reames said.

On Friday, June 21st, the Garden City Chamber of Commerce is presenting the 3rd annual Golf Scramble, a fundraiser for the Garden City Community Clinic.

Registration begins at 7:30 am, with a shotgun start at 8 am.

It's being held at the Shadow Valley Golf Course on 15711 Highway 55 in Boise.

$100 per player includes green fees, cart, drink ticket and a barbecue!

KBOI 2news Anchor Natalie Hurst will be participating in the golf scramble.

For more information and to sign up, visit: