The response to the opening of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington’s (CCDA) Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas has been overwhelmingly positive in every regard. From the standing-room-only crowd for the blessing to the enthusiastic embrace by the local community. From the extraordinarily generous financial support provided to help fund its operations to the outpouring of volunteers eager to help treat clients, the clinic has surpassed the most successful scenarios envisioned for its first six months.
The number of poor and uninsured clients seeking basic medical care has been greater than anticipated, also. To address this significant demand, the clinic has nearly doubled the hours for patient appointments while adding wrap-around services to meet their complex medical needs.
This includes on-site access to specialists such as cardiologists, orthopedists, chiro- practors, physical therapists, and dietitians. A group of patients has formed an exercise group that meets weekly to improve health outcomes while strengthening their ties to the local community.
Further, the clinic has been invited by the Virginia Department of Health to participate in SYNC, a continuing education program designed to improve medical care locally. Because many of the patients seeking care have diabetes, the CCDA clinical team will focus on diabetes interventions for their SYNC Capstone Project. Early identification of the onset of the disease is vital to treat and prevent multiple chronic conditions in this high-risk population. Doing so will lead to improved self-care and reduce diabetes- related complications.
The good news is that the patients who are receiving care at the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic are seeing significant improvements in their health in just a few visits. Volunteer Medical Director Dr. Scott Ross has remarked at how extraordinary this has been in his more than 20 years of experience.
“Typically, when treating a patient for a chronic disease, a physician will write a prescription and improvement will be incremental at best,” Dr. Ross shared. “You might try something else and they will get a little bit better. For patients we are seeing here at the clinic, their conditions are improving dramatically.
“They have many statistical reasons not to do well, but that it not the case. Maybe it is having medical care for the first time in a while, maybe patient motivation, maybe the support of the clinic staff, maybe prayer . . . I can’t really explain it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
To some, this may sound like a miracle. At a place named in honor of the Blessed Mother, perhaps we should expect miracles here more often.
Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center is the leading health system partner and provider for the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic.
For more information or to learn more about volunteer opportunities, please contact Alexandra Luevano at[email protected].