NEW HOPE, Ala. (WHNT) – A sick child with no access to health care can create issues, like absences from school or social problems. A local clinic, the first of its kind in the state of Alabama, aims to keep kids healthy and hopeful. New Hope Children’s Clinic is a school based health clinic for the student population in southeastern Madison County and it’s open to any child in need.
Volunteer physicians and nurses treat at least 500 young patients a month, ages 3 to 20, and that is consistently growing.
“The numbers are going up at least 20 patients a month, easily,” says Marcie Williams, the clinic’s executive director.
At the New Hope Children’s Clinic, insurance and income level don’t matter and a co-pay is never charged.
“We never turn a child away,” says Williams.
Williams says the clinic is extremely important in rural areas where it’s located.
“Transportation is a huge issue for our patients,” explains Williams. “Going over the mountain into Huntsville is difficult for them. Sometimes, they don’t have transportation or they don’t have the funds. With us being out here in the county, it’s an extremely important resource to have out here and we’re becoming a medical home for so many kids.”
Medical, vision, dental and mental health services are available. Transportation assistance is also available for parents.
“Being a school based health care clinic and located on the grounds of an elementary school, parents don’t have to take off work,” says Williams. “If they don’t have transportation, we have volunteers that can go get the kids and bring them back. A healthy kid is going to much better in school.”
Williams says attendance rates have gone up since the clinic opened. Operating costs have risen too, which makes donations so important. The surprised staff watched with excitement as WHNT presented the clinic with $319.
“Thank you so much,” says Williams. “That’s so great!”
Williams says the money can be used in a variety of helpful ways like toward the purchase of lenses or flu testing supplies.