Promise Community Health Center is celebrating National Health Center Week this week.
Promise has a lot to celebrate.
The health center offers a comprehensive array of services, including medical, prenatal, dental, vision/eye, mental health and family planning, all under one roof to its patients. The health center reaches out to all patients, no matter their life situation. In 2016, 40.2 percent of Promise’s patients were on Medicaid, and 36.4 had no insurance. Yet, Promise also cares for patients with private insurance (22.5 percent.) Promise served a record 3,886 patients in 2016 – 26.5 percent more than the previous year. Those patients came from a wide radius – 127 ZIP codes. Promise employs 41 staff, nearly 40 percent of whom are bilingual in English and Spanish.
Staff members reflected this week on why they love serving at Promise. Here is a sampling of their responses:
Working at Promise continually teaches me new things – not only about the medical field but about various cultures and life experiences that people are part of. It expands my understanding of the different life circumstances people come from and how all are deserving of encouragement, support and basic human needs such as health care. I’m thankful to work for a place that can provide patients with those necessities in a way that is affordable and multi-faceted.
I find it rewarding to serve an underserved population. We have some patients driving from over an hour away because nobody else takes their insurance. They are so grateful to have somebody take care of their needs and care for them.
It’s a neat experience to meet people where they are to make health care possible for them and to do so in a personal way that may not be found at a larger facility. I especially enjoy seeing the full circle of establishing a contract with home-birth patients and then seeing them back at the clinic with their newborns.
I think it’s really unique how we are constantly adapting to the needs of patients. Just in the past few years, we’ve added several new programs, added office space, added new staff roles and continually worked on improving patient care. That kind of flexibility and looking ahead takes a lot of work. I’m proud of our staff and what we accomplish together for our patients.
I really enjoy working at Promise. It’s amazing to see how the facility has expanded throughout the years to better meet the needs of our patients; it’s even more amazing to hear how grateful the patients are for these services! Whether it’s preventative care or chronic issues, we try to give patients the best care possible and connect them with any resources they may need. I also find it very rewarding to hear the success stories from patients, especially those who had a difficult journey along the way.
Working at Promise is a privilege. The patients are the key to the joy of working there. They have true needs, have true gratitude for what you do, and give priority to family and improved health. Coworkers at Promise are another blessing. They exhibit a unified goal of improving health and life for our patients.
I hear from a lot of my clients that Promise is a place where, as immigrants and people who are unfamiliar with the area, they feel safe and taken care of. They know they can trust outreach staff to help them with insurance, food stamps and other things needed for day-to-day life, they can receive dental services if their only form of insurance is Medicaid, and they will be seen regardless of what form of insurance they have – even if they have none! The sliding fee scale also makes health care much more attainable. Many families feel like a fish out of water when they first move to the U.S. or from out of the area, but Promise helps them feel more at home even when they may be thousands of miles away from “home.”
I enjoy being with a group of interdisciplinary professionals who are passionate about their work and for whom work is more than “a job.” I also find working in a community health center to be fun, challenging and fulfilling because I get to work with and care for diverse people from all walks of life with unique experiences, strengths, attributes and traumas. I find that people are strong and resilient in their own ways. And they challenge me to be a better person. Every day is full of opportunities!
It’s a joy for me to watch, every day, all the wonderful ways that Promise staff reaches out to underserved people. I’m always amazed by the incredible lengths they will go to help people and ensure their needs are met with kindness and compassion – even beyond health care. It’s rewarding to know Promise is making a positive difference in the community.