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History of Ebenezer Medical Outreach, Inc.

In 1984, the Ebenezer United Methodist Church helped to establish a community center dedicated to addressing concerns of the people in the Fairfield Community.  In 1986, a free medical clinic was established and ran on a volunteer basis once a week for two years.  A medical advisory committee was established to handle clinic affairs as a committee of the Ebenezer Community Outreach Center’s Board of Directors.  In 1988, through association with the Family Practice residency program at the Marshall University School of Medicine, the clinic program expanded to two four-hour sessions per week and a physician home visitation program.  Dr. Karen B. Mulloy became the clinic’s Medical Director.  The clinic was geared to serving those in the community who had no medical insurance and little or no money to pay for medical care.

The clinic continued its outreach with the help of a grant secured by the Marshall University School of Nursing. As a result the agency was able to expand its hours, bringing on staff a Family Nurse Practitioner, Laura Darby, for nine months.  The clinic proceeded on a part-time basis, staffed by the family nurse practitioner, volunteer nurses, Dr. Mulloy, and eventually, several other volunteer physicians.

In 1993, Dr. Mulloy made a career decision to leave the area.  The Medical Advisory Committee approached Dr. Timothy Saxe, who began volunteering at the clinic in 1992, about the prospects of his replacing Dr. Mulloy as Medical Director.  Dr. Saxe agreed to do so.  The clinic expanded efforts in community screening, including a yearly contract with WV Bureau for Public Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.  Income from that project, along with donations from individuals and area United Methodist Churches allowed the clinic to purchase needed supplies.

In 1995, the clinic’s volunteer administrator, Laura Darby, approached the State Bureau for Public Health about an Uncompensated Primary Care grant.  The state found the request appropriate, but informed the clinic that the Ebenezer Community Outreach Center (ECOC) was too diverse an organization, in terms of types of projects associated with it, to receive Primary Care funding.  In order to receive Primary Care funding, the clinic would need to become a separate non-profit organization focusing solely on health care.  Upon the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Committee, the ECOC board agreed that this was the best way for the medical clinic to diversify its funding base and continue to grow in its service to the community.

In September of 1995, Ebenezer Medical Outreach (EMO) incorporated with a separate board of directors and in March of 1996, became a 501(c) (3) organization.  With the first grant from Primary Care for $57,299.00, EMO was able to hire two part time employees:  an administrator and a clinic coordinator, and to pay the family nurse practitioners on a per diem basis.  The clinic expanded its hours to 32 per week with a physician or family nurse practitioner on duty during those times.

In 1999 it was determined that the space in Ebenezer Community Outreach Center was no longer adequate.  Because it was started in the Fairfield West community the board of directors decided that it was important that the new home for EMO remain in the community.  The Executive Director, Yvonne Jones and the Medical Director, Dr. Saxe met with the Mayor of the City of Huntington, Jean Dean, regarding Community Development Block grant funds for the new medical clinic.  Mayor Dean suggested the Douglass High School building which was owned by the City.  Renovation began on the building in November, 2001.  It was determined that the name of the newly renovated facility would be the Douglass Centre which would also house other non-profit organizations.

In January 2003, Ebenezer Medical Outreach moved into the Douglass Centre.  The old high school had been renovated to accommodate the growing needs of the clinic and the outreach programs.  At the time of the move Ebenezer’s programs consisted of medical program that provided patients with primary and specialty care and four outreach programs, Chronic Disease Management Program, Concerned Residents United to Stop AIDS (CRUSAIDS), Save Our Sisters and the Huntington Area Prescription Assistance Program.  My Brother’s Keeper, an outreach program for men, was started in 2005.

The staff at EMO has always looked for ways meet the unfilled needs of the patients.  Accessing dental care for patients was an ongoing struggle.  It became a dream to have a dental clinic in the newly renovated space.  Dr. Leo Fleckenstein, a retired dentist worked with Ebenezer in the development of the dental clinic. The dental clinic opened in January 2005.

In January 2008 Ebenezer Medical Outreach, Inc. hired its first full time paid nurse practitioner.  This addition to the staff now enables EMO to provide sick visits for patients in addition to expanding services for hundreds of uninsured patients who need access to quality health care.  The nurse practitioner joins the staff under our current medical director, Dr. Stephen Petrany.

Approximately 27 medical providers donate 325 hours per month to provide quality care to our patients. Primary Care, Minor Surgery, Orthopedics, and Women’s Health are all provided at no charge. If the agency’s providers are unable to meet a medical need posed by one of the patients, the EMO refers the patient to the appropriate source at no cost to the patient.

The following types of services are available to patients/clients at EMO:
·   Access to primary and specialty healthcare for financially eligible patients at Ebenezer’s medical clinic.
·   Prescription assistance through the Huntington Area Prescription Assistance Program.  This program accessed over $3 million dollars worth of pharmaceuticals for patients in fiscal year 2006-2007.
·   Chronic Disease management Program – Education and preventative care geared toward improving the life quality of rural Appalachians that are disproportionately affected by diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
·   Save Our Sisters (S.O.S.) – Natural lay helper program that provides education, counseling, and screening referrals, related to breast, cervical and ovarian cancer to seldom/never screened women of the region.
·   Concerned Residents United to Stop AIDS (CRUSAIDS) – Outreach that provides HIV/AIDS education and risk reduction materials and access to HIV testing for the region.
·   Dental Clinic – Because many of our patients suffer from poor dental history we provide extensive, at times restorative work to patient’s mouths at no cost.
·   My Brother’s Keeper – Natural lay helper program that provides education, counseling, and screening referrals to men for prostate cancer.

EMO is a member of the West Virginia Association of Free Clinics, National Association of Free Clinics and is one of nine state funded free clinics.

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