The Rexburg Free Clinic wants Upper Valley residents to know it is back in business following COVID-19 concerns.
The clinic is located at the Madison County School District building at 60 West Main across from Taco Bell. It’s open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Friday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.
The clinic was open on a limited basis during heightened COVID-19 concerns and treated some patients via ZOOM. It is now fully reopening its doors, but those seeking help are required to wear a mask that is provided by the clinic.
“We are back open. We would love to get more of the word out. We don’t want people going without health care. We want to make sure people are getting their medication,” said clinic volunteer Anna Bjornn.
As its name implies, the clinic is free. Workers don’t ask for paycheck stubs, tax forms or insurance cards. No one is ever turned away, she said.
“We want to be here for those who cannot afford health care. We have some great medical health facilities that provide low-income opportunities, but patients still end up having to pay something. We are completely free,” Bjornn said.
It’s about providing help for those with little or no medical insurance, Physician Assistant Greg Klingler said.
“We want to break down barriers that prevent patients from seeing a provider. Whether you’re uninsured or poorly insured or for whatever reason there’s a place to be seen here,” he said.
In addition to Klinger, doctors Andy Bradbury and Jeff Hopkin volunteer at the facility.
This year the clinic has around 180 patients. It has treated everyone from the young to the young at heart. Many seek help to fight ailments such as sinus infections. Should those infections go untreated, it could develop into something more serious such as pneumonia. Others need care following a sexual assault while some need to be treated for Sexually Transmitted diseases and don’t feel comfortable, for whatever reason, visiting with other medical personnel for help.
The clinic operates on a donation basis and has received supplies, furniture and examination tables from fellow medical clinics. It’s also received grants from the Idaho State Department of Health and Welfare. Private residents have also provided funds to the facility.
“We have got a private nonprofit organization that has contributed. The majority of what we have received is through donations and volunteer work. It’s really an entire community effort of no less than 100 people or more who have contributed to the work,” Klingler said.
Klingler says that magic happens at the clinic.
“(We’re reaching) a vulnerable population that has no resources, but now has a resource in the community for high quality primary care at not cost. Folks that don’t need us, won’t come here,” he said. “For people who are in need and have no other resources, this has been a heaven-sent facility. This feels like sacred ground, not because of its looks or location, but because it’s the only place north of Pocatello to truly access primary care for those with no insurance.”
Klingler noted that some residents have to decide between paying their rent and going to the doctor.
“‘Do I pay the mortgage?’ ‘Do I put food on the table?’ ‘Do I go into debt,’ or ‘Do I go see my doctor?’ We don’t want patients to make the decision between basic primary care and basic needs for themselves and their families,” he said.
Free Clinic officials hope to get the word out via social media as well via traditional ways of contacting people by handing out flyers at food banks and at the Family Crisis Center. The expectation is that as more people are aware of the clinic that they’ll spread the word to friends and family.
“One thing the community can do when they see us is to tell more people and to reach those who do need it. Hopefully, we can find that slice of people who need it, and don’t know we’re here,” said clinic volunteer Bentley Arbon.
The clinic opened last year inside the school district office. The district doesn’t charge the clinic for its use. Since opening, volunteers have transformed the older facility from a former cafeteria to a medical clinic by painting and adding new carpet. The hope is that someday that the clinic will be open more days a week to treat the sick.
For more information call the facility at 208-716-8723.