PHC holds free community health fair in Marshalltown

T-R PHOTO BY NICK BAUR Organizations from around the area packed into the Primary Health Care (PHC) clinic located at 101 Iowa Ave. W. #102 Thursday to offer a free community health fair open to all members of the public.

Primary Health Care (PHC) in Marshalltown took yet another step Thursday in fulfilling their mission of opening access to healthcare in the area as the local provider hosted a free community health clinic at their new facility located at 101 Iowa Ave. W. #102.

The day-long event saw a long list of organizations from around the area pack into the space alongside PHC, ranging from Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS) to Iowa Total Care.

Members of the public were welcomed into PHC to take part in free blood pressure checks, HIV and STI testing, medication reviews, and updated COVID-19 vaccinations provided by the clinic.

PHC Registered Nurse (RN) April May says the community health fair is part of PHC’s larger philosophy to “meet patients where they are” regardless of their circumstances, or station in life.

“We want people to be able to be served, both when they’re sick and when they’re well,” she said. “So, if we can be there for them when they’re sick, they’ll look to us when they’re well.”

With a main goal of providing healthcare and supportive services to all, regardless of insurance, immigration status, or ability to pay, PHC offers a wide variety of services to fit the needs of those locally, May says.

“We can do those basic well-child exams, get those vaccinations on time, get those dental cleanings done when they need it, not just when they have an issue, get those well worn surfaces taken care of or referrals out for mammograms or colonoscopies,” she said. “All those different things that we can provide to them in one place is really important.

As Sherry Senne, RN at PHC says, the care for patients by PHC does not simply stop at treating any medical issues that arise. Rather, PHC looks to provide more holistic, comprehensive help for whoever walks through their doors.

“We don’t just treat them as a patient,” she said. “If they need help with clothing, housing, food, we can hook them up with different pantries and [organizations] out in the community. I think one of the bigger things is, it’s a safety net for our undocumented folks because they know they’re safe. We’re gonna take care of them.”

For Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Family Planning Manager at PHC Tracy Menter, it’s this type of mindset and practice of care that she says patients overwhelmingly respond favorably to, especially after they receive initial care.

“Patients that we see without medical care, once they realize that they can [access it], not just necessarily free but even if it’s at a reduced cost, they’re finally able to get the care they need,” Menter said. “Now, they’re able to get the care they need here, and they continue with it so they’re able to take care of themselves, and they do.”

Having been at PHC for the past 16 years, Menter says that offering equitable healthcare “from birth to death” is not only a main goal for PHC, but for herself as well and is a major reason why she has been at the healthcare provider for so long.

“We treat everybody the same across the board,” Menter said. “I don’t know if the person over here is coming in and makes no money or if they are a millionaire. They get treated no matter their choice of life or their situation and money. They don’t get judged.”

Now with an integrated pharmacy on site, PHC Pharmacist Shawna Brooks says the addition has helped to remove perceived hurdles present for locals seeking affordable medication.

“I think that a big barrier at times can be that patients don’t even seek out care because they are afraid of how they’ll be responded to,” Brooks said. “So, having this pharmacy here, where they can come, I know who they are… and I can build rapport with them. So that makes it more comfortable for them to come somewhere that they can pick up their medications, knowing that the person that’s helping them cares, and has the time to address their questions or their concerns.”

Additionally, because PHC is part of the 340B Pharmacy Program, pharmaceutical companies are required to provide discounted drug prices to organizations that see large numbers of uninsured patients, which allows places like PHC to pass on these savings to their patients.

“That makes it easier for some of our patients to afford their medications that they may not otherwise be able to take,” Brooks said. “If they don’t have insurance, then they may not realize that that’s something we can help them with here, and being able to help them get their medications versus not taking them.”

For more information about PHC Marshalltown and upcoming healthcare events, see their website: phciowa.org/marshalltown or their Facebook: www.facebook.com/primaryhealthcareiowa

PHC will also be hosting free HIV and STI testing at their clinic the first Monday of every month for the foreseeable future.


Contact Nick Baur at 641-753-6611 or nbaur@timesrepublican.com.


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