The Mary Rose Clinic in the City of Oneida doesn’t officially start seeing patients until 4:00 pm on Wednesdays, but often patients start signing in as early as an hour before opening. It is clear that during the short time it has been in existence, this free resource for the uninsured of Madison County has become a critical source of support for the area’s residents.
Madison County was facing a health care epidemic – a shortage of doctors and more than 7,000 uninsured individuals unable to afford routine medical care. Dr. Rathika Martyn decided that she had to find a way for this underserved population to receive quality healthcare. In 2010, Dr. Martyn saw her dream come to life when she partnered with Community Action Partnership for Madison County (CAP) and the Gorman Foundation to establish the Mary Rose Clinic, which provides free primary care to uninsured or Medicaid patients.
After only its first few years, the clinic quickly outgrew its 700 square foot space, which was shared with an active physician practice that used the location during normal business hours. Restricted by space and availability, the clinic offered hours one evening a week – leading to long wait times.
It was time to relocate to a larger facility that would allow them to serve more patients and decrease wait times. A Community Foundation grant helped the organization cover the costs necessary to outfit its newly expanded 3,000 square foot facility in the Gorman Community Center, located in the city of Oneida.
“The grant was one of the biggest funding sources that we had to build out the clinic to its existing condition,” said Julie Dale, executive director of the Community Action Partnership for Madison County. “It’s been wonderful.” Now tripled in size and able to offer Thursday day-time hours in addition to its traditional Wednesday evenings, the clinic has become an important resource for uninsured adults seeking any sort of primary medical care. Patients who are 16 years of age or older can take advantage of the clinic’s patient education, disease prevention programs, physical exams and assistance finding insurance options.
The clinic relies heavily on the work of its volunteers to care for the 20-30 patients seen weekly, including a staff of receptionists, nurses, doctors and referral partners. There are currently five volunteer physicians that dedicate their free time to offer a range of services including internal medicine, rheumatology, family care and minor surgical procedures. Offering these services to the uninsured relieves some of the burden placed on local emergency rooms from uninsured individuals who previously had no other place to go for basic medical care.
The expanded clinic is now housed in the Gorman Community Center, located in the former Northside Shopping Center in Oneida. The Center is also home to BOCES Consortium of Continuing Education, Madison County Reads Ahead, and the Literacy Coalition of Madison County, offering one location for uninsured and low income families to find a variety of services.
“There’s very limited public transportation in Madison County so it’s really a wonderful and unique dream come true to offer a place where people can not only receive medical care, but can also apply for food stamps, meet with a CAP caseworker, or maybe partake in early childhood, adult learning, or mental health programs,” said Dale. “It’s a one-stop shop for families.”