Com­mu­nity Clinic in Siloam Springs hosts ‘friend raiser’

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES - LARA JO HIGHTOWER

“Our mis­sion state­ment is help­ing peo­ple lead healthy lives by pro­vid­ing health care to all of North­west Arkansas,” says Com­mu­nity Clinic’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­ager, Mor­gan Scholz. “We’ve been es­tab­lished for over 20 years and serve Wash­ing­ton and Ben­ton coun­ties with af­ford­able, qual­ity health care. We’re the largest safety net health care or­ga­ni­za­tion in the area.”

Scholz says Com­mu­nity Clin­ics lo­cated in Fayet­teville, Spring­dale, Rogers and Siloam Springs of­fer den­tal, med­i­cal, pe­di­atric and pre­na­tal care.

“We of­fer all of our ser­vices in Span­ish, English and Mar­shallese,” says Scholz. “Over half of our staff are bilin­gual, which matches the needs of our pa­tient pop­u­la­tion.”

Scholz says that Com­mu­nity Clinic is proud to have one of only two Mar­shallese physi­cians in the United States work­ing there.

“Dr. Shel­don Rik­lon works a lot with that pa­tient de­mo­graphic, which is great, be­cause they of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence greater bar­ri­ers to med­i­cal ac­cess.”

Scholz says that while the clin­ics are not free clin­ics, their pol­icy is to never turn away a pa­tient re­gard­less of abil­ity to pay. Most forms of in­sur­ance are ac­cepted, and pa­tients with­out in­sur­ance are of­fered ser­vices on a slid­ing scale that is based on fam­ily in­come and size.

“We fully be­lieve every­body should have ac­cess to qual­ity health care,” says Scholz.

The Com­mu­nity Clinic sys­tem has also ex­panded to the school sys­tem: It has clin­ics lo­cated in seven pub­lic schools.

“Those are a great value,” says Scholz. “When a child is sick and needs to be di­ag­nosed, they can do that at the school clinic with­out the par­ent hav­ing to take off work. The ma­jor­ity of our pa­tients are low in­come, so that can be a real bar­rier to re­ceiv­ing

health care. Our school clin­ics are also avail­able to the com­mu­nity — you or I could seek health care at a school-based clinic.”

An­other facet of care that Scholz says makes Com­mu­nity Clinic stand out is that they pro­vide in­te­grated be­hav­ioral health with their health care ser­vices.

“We are one of the first in the area to do this,” she says. “We have a full-time psy­chi­a­trist, six so­cial work­ers and sev­eral fifth-year psy­chi­atric in­terns from the Univer­sity of Arkansas who work with our health care providers to ad­dress and as­sess our pa­tients’ be­hav­ioral health needs in an ef­fi­cient, non-stig­ma­tiz­ing way. If I

go to get my an­nual well­ness exam, they will per­form a very ba­sic screen­ing. If my doc­tor is con­cerned that I may be strug­gling with de­pres­sion, he or she may have a psy­chi­a­trist or so­cial worker come down to dis­cuss a treat­ment plan in that same meet­ing. It’s very ef­fec­tive in help­ing to iden­tify the prob­lem early and ad­dress it quickly, with­out

the stigma that’s of­ten as­so­ci­ated with be­hav­ioral health care.

“Our in­te­grated be­hav­ioral health ser­vices are only avail­able to our pa­tients and are in­te­grated into our health care ser­vices,” Scholz con­tin­ues. “A lot of peo­ple are ex­cited to learn that we have a full-time psy­chi­a­trist and want to come and see him ex­clu­sively, but it’s very much a holis­tic ap­proach.”

Com­mu­nity Clinic staff and physi­cians are not vol­un­teers, and much of the fund­ing for ser­vices comes from grants and pa­tient fees, says Scholz. But com­mu­nity mem­bers who would like to help sup­port the clinic’s ef­forts will have that op­por­tu­nity when the Siloam Springs Com­mu­nity Clinic hosts its 12th an­nual fundraiser on Aug. 19.

“The Siloam Springs

clinic be­came an ex­ten­sion of the Com­mu­nity Clinic in 2009, but it had been func­tion­ing since 2000 as a small non­profit,” ex­plains Scholz. “That’s why this clinic is the only lo­ca­tion that hosts this fundraiser. The non­profit that started in 2000 was such a strong col­lab­o­ra­tive com­mu­nity ef­fort that was born out of col­lec­tive com­pas­sion and the de­sire to do some­thing about the im­me­di­ate need peo­ple were see­ing in this small com­mu­nity. There’s a very strong sense of com­mu­nity sup­port for this event, and we’re so proud to be cel­e­brat­ing the 12th an­nual event.”

This year’s theme is Sum­mer Mas­quer­ade.

“So break out that mas­quer­ade mask you’ve got in your closet that’s been dy­ing for an oc­ca­sion,”

says Scholz. The event will be catered by the pop­u­lar Fayet­teville restau­rant Cafe Rue Or­leans, and Scholz prom­ises ex­cit­ing items for the live and si­lent auc­tions — like the “Pie of the Month” pack­age that in­cludes a dif­fer­ent pie, ev­ery month, baked by the Wooden Spoon in Gen­try.

“This is an event that has value to us not only just mon­e­tar­ily, but as a cel­e­bra­tion of the com­mu­nity sup­port that this clinic em­bod­ies,” says Scholz. “Our CEO, in fact, calls it a ‘friend raiser,’ not a fundraiser. A lot of peo­ple who have been a part of this since day one get to come to­gether and cel­e­brate the good work that we con­tinue to do in our com­mu­nity.”

Cour­tesy photo

Siloam Springs Com­mu­nity Clinic’s 2016 at­ten­dees in­cluded Siloam Springs Com­mu­nity Clinic of­fice man­ager Raquel Beck, Jonathan Bar­nett and hon­orary chair­woman Christina Drake.

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