The Moab Free Health Clinic (MFHC) recently began offering a new service to the community in the form of inexpensive lab work.
“Offering low-cost lab work fills a huge gap in our services. Many patients would see a provider at the clinic who would order lab work to assist with the diagnosis,” said Danette Johnson, president of the MFHC board. “Because of the lab work being cost-prohibitive, many patients could not afford to get it done and therefore the provider would not be able to offer an accurate diagnosis. Patients are then left without treatment.”
The clinic has partnered with Cedar Diagnostics in Cortez, Colo., to provide low-cost testing without overhead costs, Johnson said.
“A lot of patients don’t have on hand cash and have a hard time accessing and affording labs,” said Noelle Hilmer-Tripp, one of MFHC’s two AmeriCorps vista volunteers. “We’ve taken out a middle man cost and administrative fees. Now all that patients have to pay for is the test itself.”
Originally, the MFHC was approved for a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver, meaning tests defined and approved by the Food and Drug Administration as simple laboratory examinations and procedures could be done at the health clinic’s lab.
“We could do simple diagnostics like strep tests, pregnancy tests, and STD tests,” Johnson said. “We can still do those tests in-house, but we send blood samples to Cedar Diagnostics for lab work.”
In conjunction with now offering low-cost lab work, the MFHC recently received a $10,000 grant from the Utah Medical Association Foundation to expand its lab and to help with startup and maintenance costs. The grant is also the beginning of the MFHC’s Patient Financial Assistance Program, which helps underwrite costs for patients who cannot afford lab work.
The MFHC is a nonprofit organization established in February of 2008 to ensure that all members of the Moab community are able to access healthcare regardless of race, religion, age, gender, health care coverage, or financial need.
The MFHC offers community health education and services, including diabetes education, blood draws, podiatry, massage, pediatric, primary care and mental health clinics, Well Women’s clinics with an OBGYN, and low-cost mammograms. The MFHC is funded by grants and donations and is run on an entirely volunteer basis. Provider-based clinics are offered to those individuals who are uninsured or underinsured in the Moab community, Johnson said.
The MFHC is open for administrative hours Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During administrative hours, clinic staff members are available to assist community members in examining and understanding available health care options through the clinic’s community resource guide. Staff members are available to answer questions and can also help local residents sign up for the MFHC Prescription Assistance Program, provide HIV and STD tests, and register for clinic services.
For more information and a full clinic service schedule, visit www.moabfreehealthclinic.com or call 435-259-1113. The Moab Free Health Clinic is located at 359 South 400 East (across from Milts and the WabiSabi Thriftique).