By Mike Murphy
Special to The Review
The Wayne County Health Clinic has expanded its hours, its physical space and its services to provide health care consumers with better access.
But there is an added focus in the county clinic located in Hamtramck. Staffmembers there are working on breaking language barriers that stand in the way of services for many Hamtramck residents.
One outstanding feature of the new clinic, which opened its doors on Dec. 1 at its new location in the strip mall at Jos. Campau and Holbrook, is the language services it provides.
Many employees are multilingual and the clinic is using Language Line Services, a phone and video service that will provide interpreters for any language that the WCHCC staff can’t accommodate.
WCHCC Chief Executive Officer Marva Hairston said those services are especially designed for the immigrant population in the community.
“It’s hard. Especially with the immigrants,” Hairston said. “You’re trying to assimilate.”
Hairston said the move to a new site came out of necessity. About 300-400 people used the clinic until recent years when those numbers exploded. Last year the clinic served 1,700 people, and Hairston expects that number to grow even larger with more and more people signing up under the Affordable Health Care Act.
The WCHCC is now operating out of a newly-remodeled facility that used to house the Michigan Workforce located in the strip mall at the corner of Holbrook and Joseph Campau. The clinic also expanded into the space next door to Workforce. For the first time, the WCHCC is open on Saturdays.
“We tore up the place and put in brand new rooms and brand new equipment,” Behavioral Health Coordinator Kafik Seifelden said about the clinic, which is offering new services like mental health care to make the clinic a one-stop location for most health care needs.
In addition to the new services above, the clinic offers dentistry and there is a pre-natal specialist on board for expectant mothers.
Other services include pediatrics, OBGYN and an Outreach program designed to connect consumers without insurance to the newly established Marketplace or Medicaid coverage.
Hairston said the expansion was prompted by the federal government and the recently instituted Affordable Health Care Program based on its ideal of providing every person in the country with ongoing preventative health care in order to dissuade patients from using local emergency rooms for services.
“Our goal is to provide good care right in the community,” Hairston said. “We want our patients to develop an ongoing relationship with their doctors.”
Hairston added that the new clinic will also provide people with ample parking.
The WCHCC provides services to everybody, regardless of whether they have health insurance or not. The clinic accepts all health care insurance, and charges patients on a sliding-scale basis. Hairston said the lowest co-pay for a visit to a clinic is $20.
The WCHCC has also installed a new community room on the premises, and Hairston said that it will be offered as a meeting room to groups in the community focused on issues of health care. She said the clinic itself is planning to use the community room for breastfeeding classes and classes for diabetics, behavioral health services, and counseling for children.
She said she is keeping an open mind as to who can have access to the community room, but the goal is to serve those in the community who need to make use of the facility.
“Whatever the need is,” Hairston said, “if we can respond to help them, we will.”
The clinic will hold an open house sometime next month. The WCHCC is opened Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the exception of Wednesdays when hours are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.