From the heart and soul: Local clinic aims to provide free healthcare to uninsured or underinsured patients

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By Anna Skinner

One little building in Westfield is aiming to make a difference.

Heart & Soul, a clinic on 202 Penn St., provides free healthcare to those who are uninsured or underinsured with only catastrophic policies.

With flu season in full swing, those who cannot afford healthcare do not see a physician when they should. Heart & Soul Executive Director Heather Brownell wants to get the word out so those who are sick and need care know where to go.

“We function much like an urgent care facility, we are not here to be primary doctors,” Brownell said. “Our goal is to be here for when you have strep throat, an ear infection, or the flu.”

Brownell said the clinic also sees those with chronic issues, such as high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes and cholesterol issues. Brownell said the clinic has an agreement with Westfield Pharmacy, which is within walking distance, to provide the clinic with discounted prescriptions. The clinic then gives the prescriptions to the patients at no cost.

Originally, the clinic was only open every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon, yet they heard from the community that there was a need for an evening clinic. The clinic opened for Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. starting Jan. 6.

In addition to its increased hours, Heart & Soul is working on constructing a dental clinic at the same location to help provide the uninsured community with free dental care. It is expected to open April 1, and will be open every first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon.

Heart & Soul not only provides prescriptions, but labs as well. Often times, Brownell said they will send patients over to Any Lab Test Now, owned by City Council President Chuck Lehman, for lab tests.

Sometimes, a patient comes in and needs a procedure that the nonprofit cannot afford to provide for free. The clinic has multiple connections within the pharmacy and physician world that provide discounted or free services, and they often refer patients to those partners.

The faith-based clinic has a connection with LifePoint church in Westfield, which offers mental health counseling free of charge to those who need it.

“Mental health is a big need and a lot of time insurance won’t cover that,” Brownell said, mentioning that one of the clinic’s referral sources is a licensed mental health physician.

Barbara Haehner, M.D., is a provider and the medical director of Heart & Soul along with Anne Willet, Nurse Practitioner, and board president.

“Mental healthcare services and dental services are a great need of the community,” Haehner said. “Although healthcare is our main wheelhouse, we are adding these other (services) to supplement and better serve the community.”

Brownell said that she has come upon some patients who are not U.S. citizens and who can’t get healthcare elsewhere.

“I had an individual who did not have insurance because they we not a United States citizen, but they had a severe issue with their kidney and needed surgery,” Brownell said. “By working with (resources) we were able to get them the care they needed.”

In 2014, the clinic saw 203 patients. Brownell said that especially with the dental clinic opening, she is expecting to see even more patients in 2016.

Heart & Soul relies on grants and donations to provide free healthcare to those in need.

In February, the clinic will offer echocardiography screenings for a low price of $25, when the heart ultrasound normally costs $150.

For more information, visit www.heartandsoulclinic.org.

RECENT GRANT 

Recently, the Heart & Soul Clinic received a $12,000 grant from the Legacy Fund, which is a part of the Community Foundation of Indianapolis and serves Hamilton Co. The Legacy Fund aims to help charitable businesses and organizations. Brownell and Haehner said that the money will go towards absorbing lab test and prescription costs, the possible purchase of a second laptop for networking, and possibly adding another day of service to the clinic.


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