News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, November 27, 2013
Peninsula Free Health clinic opens its doors

Blue Hill Bridge Club supports the new free clinic in Blue Hill

The Blue Hill Bridge Club shows their support for Peninsula Free Health, a new clinic in Blue Hill, with a $2,000 donation. From left, club treasurer Lin Parker, clinic board members Lynn Cheney, Dr. Jane Garfield and Dr. Bob Walker and clinic pharmacist consult George Fowler.

Photo courtesy of Blue Hill Bridge Club

by Anne Berleant

As of Monday, November 25, a new free health clinic in Blue Hill was open for business.

Ten people walked through the doors of the Congregational Church of Blue Hill between 3 and 6 p.m.

“What I really liked was that people were there to use the full range of services we had,” said Lynn Cheney, secretary-treasurer and a certified Affordable Care Act navigator.

Peninsula Free Health—the brainchild of Dr. Jane Garfield and a core of volunteers—seeks to serve a range of health-related needs, particularly among those who fall “through the gap” of either qualifying for MaineCare or for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization run under the umbrella of Washington-Hancock County Agency.

Volunteer staff, including Garfield, retired Dr. Robert Walker, retired pharmacist George Fowler and Cheney, offer health screenings, and help in finding lower cost medications and applying for health insurance through the ACA.

For the six or so clients who came specifically for health screenings, each was first tested by a nurse for blood sugar levels, blood pressure and oxygen levels before a full consultation with Garfield or Walker. If needed, referrals were made to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital.

Cheney helped at least six people navigate through the ACA application process, and Fowler was able to help clients find low-cost medication.

Of those who Cheney helped, “two fell through the gap between MaineCare and the ACA, but the clinic will be there for them. We’re going to be open every Monday from 3 to 6 [p.m.].”

The Simmering Pot community meal program is held at the same time as the clinic, and those waiting for clinic services would sit with a cup of coffee or soup, Cheney said. “It flowed very nicely…It was a perfect opening day.”