Dr. Nick Morris and his wife Madelyn were spending three weeks on a Project HOPE hospital ship in 2006 when an idea occurred to them. Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) has worked to make health care available for people around the globe, especially children. His wife, Madelyn, said to him â€œI bet there are people who could use this in Powell.â€ She was right.
The facts about the medical-care crisis in the U.S. hit us hard here in northwest Wyoming. Twenty percent of Park County residents have no health insurance and 25% of Park County residents have incomes below the 200% Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). More than half our local businesses cannot offer healthcare insurance to their employees. Over 80% of bankruptcies stem from healthcare debt issues.
The Morrises began in earnest to work on developing The Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic, a volunteer medical clinic established to provide free professional outpatient non-emergent acute and chronic primary medical care to patients living in the Big Horn Basin. The clinic hope to fills the gaps in local healthcare services rather than duplicating services already provided locally, and to help alleviate the impact of charity costs on our local hospital, which reached $1.2 million in 2006. It will serve individuals whose gross incomes are at or below 200% of the FPG, are uninsured or underinsured and do not quality for any other program. They are hoping to open in April.
The Clinic, as its name suggests is all volunteer; with the exception of an Executive Director, everyone involved in the clinic is unpaid, including doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and individuals from our community. The support of volunteers enables them to provide $5 worth of service for every $1 donated.
The two-fold purpose of the Series this year remains as it has every year: the first and foremost is to benefit a well-respected program in our city, and the second is to make the community aware of our mission and the vitality of our purpose. We are providing the individuals in our community the opportunity to come and support not just the developing medical clinic, but to support the arts and the artists of our area. Itâ€™s our opportunity to serve the entire community.
The cost of the newspaper advertising is the only expense the general budget allocations for outreach will cover. Members of the congregation are donating all other expenses, including the soup and bread. The committee welcomes monetary contributions to cover the expense of plastic cutlery, cups, butter, disposable gloves, napkins and table coverings.
Dolores Woods continues in her role of organizing the kitchen schedule. We serve three varieties of homemade soups following each of the concerts â€“ thatâ€™s 15 soups cooks needed. Deb Chidsey is in charge of coordinating the dinning room set up for each lunch, although the congregation is serving as a committee of the whole for set up and clean up. Everyone will be able to pitch in every week â€“ we have an apron and a ladle for you!
Special thanks to Elaine DeBuhr, Rob Rumbolz and Scott Larsen for putting together the roster of musicians, and to Scott and Megan Nickles for general publicity.