The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

March 28, 2014

State gets dose of city medicine

Physician general sees clinic’s great work

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Free Medical Clinic has been helping local residents get health care for years, and state officials are taking notice.

Dr. Carrie DeLone, Pennsylvania’s physician general, stopped by the clinic at 320 Main St. last week. She got a tour of the facility and spoke with patients and employees, who explained the extraordinary work that is done there.

The clinic was awarded a grant worth $66,137 in January, which will enable it to expand its services. Patients will notice an impact, as it will be open later. A new worker has already been added in the prescription storeroom and the clinic plans to hire a new physician assistant.

While we’re always leary about grant money because we know that it ultimately comes from taxpayers, this will make a world of difference for the clinic.

“Funding is always an issue,” DeLone said. “Getting the funding to support these facilities is very important. It’s trying to improve the access to health care for all Pennsylvanians.”

DeLone said that the Johnstown clinic has established a reputation for its great works.

“We were very impressed by the passion and compassion that this clinic shows to the community,” she said. “We are excited to support them in the future.”

We’re also impressed by the efforts of those who run the clinic, both the paid employees and the volunteers. They provide services that are so very important for the needy in our community, and they continue to find more ways to help.

One of the ways that the grant will make a difference is by allowing the clinic to institute a bus-token program. That means that patients who are unable to afford bus fare to and from the clinic can now get a token for transportation so that they can get to the clinic for needed care.

Pam Renowden, a retiree from Johnstown, knows the importance of the clinic. A diagnosis there a month ago led to emergency heart surgery.

“It allowed me to celebrate my 59th birthday today,” she told reporter Justin Dennis last week. “This is definitely a facility worth the investment.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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