Volunteer-run Interfaith Community Clinic meets needs of Montgomery County’s uninsured

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Interfaith Community Clinic—formerly South County Community Clinic—has been working to address the medical and dental needs of Montgomery County’s medically uninsured population for the past 23 years. 

South County Community Clinic was founded in November 1996 by local physician Dr. Joel Kerschenbaum.

When his neighbor lost his job and no longer had access to health insurance, Kerschenbaum was inspired to start a countywide clinic for the uninsured, Interfaith President and CEO Missy Herndon said. With this idea in mind, Herndon said Kerschenbaum approached Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center’s then-CEO, Steve Sanders and was granted the seed money to start a clinic.

“We are the only community clinic that serves all of Montgomery County,” Herndon said. “We stay true to our mission here, which is to provide health care for those in need and those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to health care.”

South County Community Clinic was located on Sawdust Road and was open only two nights a week. The clinic became a branch of service under Interfaith of The Woodlands in 2010 and was reborn as Interfaith Community Clinic, moving to a new location.

Today, Interfaith Community Clinic is open five days and two nights a week, as well as one to two Saturdays each month. Located in Oak Ridge North, the clinic provides medical and dental care as well as counseling services and patient service assistance to uninsured Montgomery County residents.

“The majority of our patients work; we’re helping the working poor,” Herndon said. “These people work hard every day and in some cases even have multiple jobs, but they either don’t have access to health insurance or can’t afford it.”

PROVIDING CARE

To become a patient, Clinic Director Anita Phillips said an eligibility interview is required, during which clinic staff reviews the prospective patient’s identity, income and address to determine whether an individual qualifies for services.

Herndon said the clinic uses a sliding scale to determine a patient’s cost for services, which ranges from $5-$25. However, Herndon said if a patient is unable to pay, the clinic can still provide care through partnerships with neighboring hospitals.

“If someone can’t make their contribution, that support [from neighboring hospitals]allows us to basically scholarship that patient,” Herndon said.

Medical services offered at the clinic include treatment for common nonemergency medical problems; management of chronic health problems; and preventative health exams, such as pap smears, mammograms and prostate exams, Phillips said. On the dental side, the clinic offers biannual dental cleanings, X-rays, fillings and extractions.

With only a handful of contracted medical professionals, Herndon said the clinic runs almost entirely on the generosity of local licensed professionals who donate their time at Interfaith Community Clinic.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

In addition to in-clinic services, Interfaith Community Clinic also hosts a Healthy Kids Festival in conjunction with Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands three times a year, Herndon said. The clinic also offers health classes throughout the year on a range of topics.

Additionally, while Herndon said a mobile health van has been a future plan of the clinic’s for some time, telemedicine has removed some of the transportation barriers between patients and health care services and is a resource the clinic plans to rely on more heavily in the future.

“We always say, ‘There is a lot of need behind the trees,’ and we see it every day here,” Herndon said. “We’re just continuing to look for ways we can serve more people, meet the[ir]needs and be innovative with the way we’re serving.”

Interfaith Community Clinic
101 Pine Manor Drive, Oak Ridge North
281-364-7889
www.interfaithcommunityclinic.org
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-noon (by appointment only)

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Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.
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