Five years ago, the first and only free clinic in Canadian County grew roots at Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon.
Church leaders saw a need and they met it with Faith Clinic. Volunteer health care workers operate the clinic inside the church.
As their need grew, so did the clinic and additional services.
The church broke ground Jan. 10 for the Together We Center, which will house Faith Clinic, as well as a food pantry and clothing closet in the future.
Sandy Malega, Faith Clinic volunteer, said she is thrilled to have a complex dedicated for the clinic. As one of the first volunteers, Malega said she is humbled to be a part of a clinic that helps Canadian County residents in more ways than one.
“To see how God has ex-panded my little dream of a small clinic, is absolutely astounding to me,” said Ma-
lega. “He has taken my tiny mustard seed and grown it into a giant plant.”
Of the 2,500 square-feet, the new Faith Clinic will have four exam rooms, a pharmacy, a patient’s assistance of-fice and a lab. Lingo Const-ruction Services, Inc. is handling the construction of the complex.
Trinity has raised more than $1 million for the center. The construction company has also not charged the church for their LWPB architect and has donated to the building.
The center is expected to open Aug. 15.
Dayla Hall, RN and Faith Clinic director, said the vision of the clinic’s building has been a process in the making. A turning point for Hall came after a mission trip to Guerrero, Mexico.
“I actually ended up being the pharmacist out of a suitcase, on folding tables,” said Hall. “I thought, ‘you know what, if we can see patients on a hillside in Mexico out of suitcases and folding tables, we can see patients in Can-adian County in our church .…’”
A glamourous clinic that is aesthetically pleasing was never the goal. Volunteers have provided health care services to residents inside the church for years because the focus was to take care of people, Hall said.
However, it is important to the clinic’s volunteers that patients feel comfortable when they visit, so the new location will offer that in regard to what the area will look like, she said.
“We don’t want them to feel like they’re treated differently than someone who has insurance,” Hall said.
With more exam rooms, the clinic will also move more effectively, as waiting times will decrease.
“Just seeing the impact that having good health care has on people — emotionally, spiritually, physically — is just amazing,” Hall said.
Faith Clinic has helped patients receive medication to be able to secure jobs and pay for their own health insurance, Hall said.
The clinic serves county residents without medical insurance. Residents without Medicaid, Medicare, Sooner-Care and any other insurance type can make an appointment by calling 405-265-6198 to be seen on Tuesday nights at the church, which is located at 620 N Cemetery Road.
The clinic is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Residents can also receive more information by emailing [email protected]
Once patients have been triaged for COVID-19 precautions when they check-in, they wait until it is their turn to see one of the doctors. The clinic regularly has one nurse practitioner and one physician, as well as three occasional physicians.
After being seen, if a patient needs medication, they visit the pharmacy before leaving.
Faith Clinic’s pharmacy does not have narcotics to treat diseases, like cancer. To be a licensed free clinic, that is the state’s requirement.
However, patients have access to heart and blood pressure medication, insulin, antibiotics and more. The pharmacy receives its medications from statewide pharmaceutical companies and donations from doctors.
If a patient must be seen again, the doctor will schedule another visit with them. Some patients are also in need of tests, such as X-rays and standard blood tests, which are coordinated for them.
While patients are asked to provide a photo ID, as well as their Social Security card upon check-in, Hall said they do not require identification for county residents, who are experiencing homelessness. Currently, the clinic serves two homeless people, who are from Yukon.
Local businesses and nonprofits, like Manna Pantry also provide meals to clinic volunteers and patients Tuesday nights.
“Health care, nutrition works hand-in-hand with how we feel and how our bodies fight disease and regenerate,” Hall said.