SIDNEY — Are you a nurse practitioner with a few hours to volunteer each month? Or a family physician who wants to help Shelby County residents stay healthy?
If you answered yes to either question, Traci Milanese, executive director of Compassionate Care of Shelby County is looking for you.
“Our long time volunteer nurse practitioners, Sue Spiers and Cindy Parziale have been religiously here every Tuesday, since the day this organization has started, have decided it is time to move on,” said Milanese. “Their efforts, hard work and dedication to this mission have made Compassionate Care what it is today. We can’t thank Cindy and Sue enough for all that they have done for the patients, the clinic and the community.
“With Sue and Cindy leaving that leaves Compassionate Care in a dilemma and we are reaching out to community members for your help,” she said. “We are in need of volunteer providers at the clinic, mainly those who can provide primary care (doctors, nurse practitioners). Both Jamie Westfall, vice president of Outpatient Services at Wilson Health and executive director of Compassionate Care and I have been working to address the issue with many providers locally but with little success.”
Compassionate Care is open Monday to Thursday. The hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The nurse practitioners usually saw people on Tuesdays,” said Milanese. “But we can change this to accommodate someone who would like to volunteer and help us out.
“We are looking for volunteers to give us one day a month (or less if we get enough volunteers) for approximately 6 hours of time to see patients,” Milanese said. “Compassionate Care is a vital part of our community and we do not want to see it close.”
In 2015, Compassionate Care had 6,400 medical visits from county residents.
“That’s more than 1,100 patients who were seen,” said Milanese. “We saved our local medical facilities $13.8 million because they came to visit us instead of a doctor or an emergency room.”
Compassionate Care, she said, can provide primary medical care and prescriptions for residents who have no insurance or are under-insured. They provided $3.8 million in prescription drugs for their patients last year.
They also have four to five dentists who come in monthly, along with dental hygienists.
“The need is still there even with the Affordable Care Act,” said Milanese. “We don’t see Medicare or Medicaid patients. But we can help and assist them to get the services they need elsewhere.
“If you have insurance you can still come to us,” she said. “The problem people are running into is that their deductibles are so high they still can’t afford to see a doctor. We are still seeing a lot of people who are under-insured or have no insurance.”
To be eligible to be seen at Compassionate Care, the person/family must be at 250 percent at or below the poverty level.
“If a family of four — with both parents working at a job that pays $13 an hour each — they would qualify for care at Compassionate Care,” said Milanese.
Milanese said she has called and sent emails to all the physicians and nurse practitioners in the area.
“I’m just trying to get some of them in the door so they can see what we offer,” said Milanese. “Three doctors have toured the facility but they were two pediatricians and one ob-gyn. We really need a family physician but the pool of those doctors is so small we’re not having any luck.
“So I’m reaching out to the public,” she said. “I know your schedule is tight, but if each provider could volunteer once a month, we could spread it out so our patients could still be seen once a week.”
She said she needs eight to 10 hours a week from the volunteer physician or nurse practitioner.
“We are helping the working class and I like that,” said Milanese. “We’re helping people who need it the most.”
In addition to the physicians and nurse practitioners, Compassionate Care is also looking for volunteers to work at the front desk and at other jobs which need to be done.
Any physician or nurse practitioner who is interested in volunteering should contact Milanese at 937-492-9400 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compassionate Care is located at 124 N. Ohio Ave. in downtown Sidney.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.