When the Moab Free Health Clinic first opened nine years ago, it was operated by a small group of local residents who recognized that there was a need for medical services for people who might not be able to afford treatment. Now, nearly a decade later, the clinic has grown significantly, recently moving into a new, permanent location on 500 West.
With that growth, the clinic’s needs have changed, according to MFHC Executive Director Beth Joseph. In March, in order to accommodate the expanding services, Dr. Ken Williams joined the MFHC to serve as the clinic’s medical director.
Joseph said local emergency room physician Pat Scherer, who was one of the founding members of the clinic, had served as a part-time medical director since the clinic’s inception.
“A part-time medical director has always been sufficient,” she said. “But as the clinic has grown and expanded, along with the sustainability of owning this building now, Pat ... resigned to give us a chance to find someone who could commit more time.”
Joseph said the recent merger of Moab Family Medicine with Moab Regional Hospital gave Williams some flexibility in his schedule.
“He really feels passionate about our mission to serve the underserved,” she said. “He’s really excited to have the flexibility to continue serving folks who need the help the most.”
The MFHC strives not to duplicate services that are already available in the community, she said. “We work hard to identify gaps and find resources to fill those gaps. Ken’s understanding of the needs in the community and existing services are exactly what we need to take the next step as an organization.”
MFHC board president Danette Johnson agreed.
“We’ve had a lot of growing pains, trying to define who we are and who we’re going to serve,” she said. “Ken has a really good handle on who the uninsured and underinsured are in the community ... As we grow, he can help us define who it is we need to be serving.”
Johnson said that there’s uncertainty right now about what’s going to happen to healthcare in the future.
“I think Ken is definitely the one to help us navigate through that,” she said. “Ken brings a lot of medical experience that will help him be active and hands-on in shaping where we go from here.”
In addition to seeing patients in the clinic once a month, Joseph said that Williams will also help the clinic keep their policies and procedures up to date, stay compliant with regulations, guide long-term strategic planning, and be available for questions and support for all of the clinic’s providers. “That includes EMT’s, specialists, and everything in between,” she said.
“We are incredibly honored to have Ken on board,” Johnson said. “We’re super honored that he wants to be a part of this.”