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Payment, usually $15 to $20, is based on a


sliding scale determined by a patient’s income level. The concept of a patient contributing to their care is very important. “The clinic wants to be here and providing a service, but they also wanted to the patients to have some responsibility. It’s not a free walk-in clinic, you have to call and make an appointment; you have to show up for your appointment,” says Ruggles. “We work with our patients. If they’ve lost their job, or nothing is coming in, we won’t turn them away, we will take care of them.” Though patients pay something, it is very


small compared to typical medical costs. “I was walking through the lobby the other day and I heard the receptionist say to someone, ‘that will be $6,’” says Vogelsang. “We’re not talking a lot of money, but we’re talking an amount that is more than a cup of coffee, but much less than a typical co-pay.” “What we find is that eventually, when


they are able to pay, they will come back and oftentimes, when they get back on their feet, they become supporters of the clinic,” says Vogelsang of past patients. “We celebrate our patients,” says Ruggles.


“They may have to use us on a temporary basis, but when they get a job and they have benefits restored, we celebrate that and we graduate them on. A lot of times they don’t want to go, because when they come here they are establishing a relationship with one of the providers. It’s not like going to a walk- in clinic; we’re really focused on a healthcare provider-patient relationship here.”


Faith Component


“Communicating the love of Christ to the poor and vulnerable through medical excellence and mental health care,” is the goal of Christ Clinic, says Ruggles. This love is communicated through the medical staff, who volunteer their services, spending a varied amount of time at the clinic. For some doctors, it is one day per month, for others, it’s half a day per week. It all depends on what time availability a volunteer has. “They have to be committed to volunteering on a regular basis and have a heart for serving the Lord,” says Ruggles. “It is definitely a Christian ministry, but


I am surprised by how the community has embraced us,” says Edminster. “We have a number of Jewish doctors who provide care for our patients.” One of the reasons volunteers must commit to serving on a regular basis is because the


62 SPOKANE CDA • March • 2013


patients develop relationships with their providers, and it helps to have someone they can count on seeing on a regular basis. This builds trust, support and comfort, but at this clinic, it also cultivates faith. Physicians offer to pray with every patient, regardless of the patient’s beliefs. “They don’t have to accept, but nine times out of ten they do, even if the patient does not have faith. A lot of times they’ll drag the physician back into the office if they leave and haven’t yet prayed,” says Vogelsang. “We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ, here.” In order to be the hands and feet of


Christ, Christ Clinic does not accept any government funding. As a faith-based organization, true to their values, they rely heavily on individuals in the community for support, as well as groups, churches and numerous community healthcare


“Twenty-two years ago, thinking about the uninsured was a pretty new concept,” says Riggs. When Christ Clinic first opened, they thought they would only have to last for three years, before the need had been met and they were obsolete. The numbers, however, show that the need is steadily rising. According to the Spokane Community Indicator Initiative (CII), Winter 2011 report, “In 2010, both the Spokane County and Washington State shares of uninsured people aged 18-64 increased dramatically over 2008 shares. Spokane County’s uninsured share in 2010 was estimated to be 17.6%, a 37.5% increase over the 2008 share of 12.8%. Since 2002, Spokane County and Washington State estimated shares have been increasing, rising 93% and 88% respectively.” This is a trend that doesn’t sit well


with Riggs, so she is thankful for the opportunity to serve people in this demographic through Christ Clinic. “People who don’t have insurance ought to get the same coverage,” she says. “The care we provide to demonstrate God’s love should be the same quality as the care is for you and me.” Through the hard work of the staff,


An on-site lab allows for blood draws at the clinic


organizations, including, PAML, Inland Imaging, InCyte Pathology, Providence, INHS and Project Access. The clinic has access to shared medical records, thanks to these medical organizations that have graciously partnered with them. “We need to spread the credit around,”


says Edminster. “I’d like to see Christ Clinic held up, but we’ve had tremendous support from our partners. They’ve probably saved our patients not a million dollars, but millions of dollars. Without them, we would not be able to supply the orb of good care for patients. You can’t provide good medicine without x-rays and etc.” It is not just patients who are saving money;


Edminster is confident the work being done at Christ Clinic is having an impact on the financial burden healthcare costs placed on local agencies. “I’m a hundred percent certain we are keeping unfunded people out of the local ERs and hospitals,” he says. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives, but also making a public health impact in our community.”


volunteers and community supporters of Christ Clinic and Christ Kitchen, the need is being addressed, and there is a resource available to the most vulnerable among us. “If I saw Christ Clinic being what it is now, back then, no way would I have thought it could be this,” says Edminster. “It has been a big faith builder.” That


faith is needed as they go


forth, striving to meet the needs of the community. That is a task Edminster and others know is impossible to accomplish. “We can’t meet the need; we can never meet the need. We can just be faithful to what we’re called to do,” he says. And faithfully, they do just that.


Faithfully, medical professionals volunteer, providing their time and talent; faithfully, patients pay what they can; faithfully, the women cook in Christ Kitchen; and faithfully, Christ Clinic communicates the love of Christ to the poor and vulnerable through excellent medical care. And all of this happens as the cars race by on Monroe, unaware of the faithful dedication that is taking place feet from them, resulting in healed bodies and healed souls.


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