The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 10, 2013

Free medical clinic receives $10G booster from Highmark

Kelly Urban

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Free Medical Clinic recently got a shot in the arm to continue offering its services.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield gave a $10,000 grant to the medical clinic to help provide health screenings to students who have completed Johnstown Area Regional Industries’ certified nursing assistant program.

In addition, funding will be used to help the clinic as it continues to serve the uninsured throughout Cambria and Somerset counties.

“Highmark and JARI partnered in 2012 to form the certified nursing assistant program for dislocated workers. Part of the training was that students needed a physical exam and a TB test, but they were largely uninsured because they were unemployed,” said Christine Cox, Highmark’s regional sales director and community affairs liaison for the southern Alleghenies region. “The Johnstown clinic stepped in and offered the exams free of charge.”

Cox said Highmark sees the value of the clinic, which is the only free medical clinic in the surrounding area.

“We want the clinic to remain open because it provides vital services to the community and is dependent on donor support. If we don’t offer that support, it will not exist,” Cox said.

Paula Kenepp, executive director of the clinic, said the grant from Highmark is important in helping the clinic keep its doors open.

“We have 1,500 people we care for. We’ll use the money for general purposes and medications,” Kenepp said.

She added that not having the medical clinic would hurt a lot of people because the uninsured would have no place to go.

“You never know what’s going to pop up. We have some really sick people, and those with diabetes and their needs are different than a 20-year-old with a cold, but we’re trying to make sure everyone can receive care,” Kenepp said.

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