Local volunteer organization offers free medical care – The Daily Barometer

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In this photo provided by Community Outreach Inc., a medical worker is seen filling out paperwork.

Organization based in Corvallis, Community Outreach Inc.offers free or reduced cost primary and acute medical care care for the uninsured and underinsured in the Linn-Benton County area.

COI, which opened in 1971 as an all-volunteer-run organization to provide crisis intervention to young people in Linn-Benton County, operates two of these free medical clinics: one in Corvallis and one in Lebanon.

The Corvallis Medical Clinic, located in COI’s main office at 865 NW Reiman Ave, is open 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays and Fridays and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The Lebanon Clinic is housed at the East Linn Community Clinic at 1600 South Main, Lebanon, Ore. and operates from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Both clinics operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It’s like any other medical clinic where you show up and there’s a bunch of clipboards and you write down your name and the details of why you’re coming to see,” said Emily Barton, Director of Development at COI. “Just your typical clinic stuff.”

According to Lisa Quick, Clinic Director at COI, in addition to primary care services, other medical care provided includes diabetes education, physiotherapy, homeopathic care, psychiatric care, cardiovascular care and women’s health. A Dental clinic and Farm Awareness Clinic are also offered throughout the year.

“The way the system works is patients come to the free clinic and they set up care, and then they have specialty care needs,” Barton said. “People who need to see specialist care providers can come back to our clinic to see these specialist care providers.”

While primary care services are provided on a regular weekly basis, specialty care clinics operate on an annual schedule and operate by appointment only, as opposed to first come, first served.

All healthcare received by patients at COI’s free clinics is provided by volunteers, according to Quick.

“Most of them run the show here,” Quick said. “They do administrative work. They register the patients, screen them and observe with the doctors and also kind of help with whatever needs to be done to keep the program going.

According to Quick, about 50% of COI volunteers are pre-med students at Oregon State University.

“We have many pre-healthcare students who volunteer at COI and we advertise and suggest these opportunities for involvement to our students throughout each academic year in our council meetings and newsletter communications” , said Alex Beck, the Academic and Health Professions Advisor to OSU.

COI does not only provide free medical care. Over the years, COI has expanded and adapted the services they provide to residents of Linn-Benton County.

“It’s really part of this holistic vision of taking people in crisis and moving them towards stability,” Barton said. “Today we provide childcare services and we provide shelter in the form of several dormitories. We have a male dorm, a female dorm, a family dorm and in 2021 they opened a young adult dorm. So this dormitory welcomes young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, who find themselves in a homeless situation.

The young adult dorm is gender neutral, according to Barton. Residents share rooms with others who most align with their gender identity.

COI also provides services to veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“So really, the way community outreach has evolved over the years is just a response to community needs,” Barton said.

“They were thinking about systems, and they were thinking about how to serve people who are going through gaps in the system and need extra support,” Barton said.

For more information on the full range of medical care and services provided by COI, call COI at 541-758-3000.