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Union Gospel Mission needs doctors to help staff clinic

By Erik Loney, KXLY4 Reporter , erikl@kxly.com
Published On: Feb 13 2013 10:43:02 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 10:43:38 PM CST
SPOKANE, Wash, -

A shelter that helps Spokane's homeless needs the community's help, specifically doctors to volunteer their time in its clinic.

The Union Gospel Mission's clinic cares for homeless men and keeps them out of local emergency rooms. One of them is James Clapp, who is homeless and doesn't have health insurance. Now that he's living at the Union Gospel Mission he's getting the help he needs.

"It's the only access I have to health care so it's critically important," Clapp said.

Clapp saw volunteer registered nurse Ric Hernandez in the mission's clinic Wednesday.  He was the only patient because the mission closed the clinic for the week because it doesn't have a volunteer doctor to staff it.

"At the medical clinic we have five doctors on a rotation and three are out right now so we need three doctors to fill those spots," Dave Wall with the Union Gospel Mission said.

"The majority of people here have no other resource for health care, they can't just go to another clinic to have their needs addressed," Hernandez added.

Last year the clinic had 1,500 patients, which in turn saved dozens of ambulance trips, hundreds of trips to the emergency room and thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.

The Union Gospel Mission is looking for several doctors to volunteer one day a month in the weekly clinic. Hernandez says he can staff the clinic but he's limited in what he can do.

"I do my best but I know my best could be better if I had a doc beside me," he said.

If doctors would like to volunteer, call the Union Gospel Mission.

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