Night clinic to open for farm workers

First Posted: 6/28/2009

DOBSON Migrant farm workers will soon have an inexpensive way to get health care at a night clinic to be offered by the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center starting in July.
Lisa Carroll, a medical intern, is spearheading the effort to establish the clinic as her summer project. She said having a night clinic is important because the farm workers arent able to come during the day because they are busy working on the farms.
The North Carolina Farm Workers Health Program is a branch of the state Department of Health and Human Services, which is funding the program. Any health department or clinic across the state can apply to North Carolina Farm Workers Health Program to get funding if they have a significant patient population of farm workers. Once they apply, and get the funding, they have to meet certain standards in terms of accessibility, services and health education, said Carroll.
Surry County won the bid to have the clinic, she said.
The program coordinator with Surry County is Richard Contreras.
The actual dates for the clinic are: July 8 and 22, Aug. 12 and 26, Sept. 9 and 23 and Oct. 14 and 28. Farm workers from Surry, Stokes and Yadkin counties are welcome.
Carroll said the spouses and dependents of farm workers are also welcome at the clinic.
Patients will be able to receive health care that would be available at the health department during the day, such as check-ups, treatment of acute and chronic health problems, such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, asthma and things that are specific to farm workers such as heat illness, or pesticide exposure or green tobacco sickness, Carroll said.
We are not set up for emergency visits, so if there is an emergent problem, something very serious, it is important that they go to the emergency room, she said.
Carroll said the night clinic is a walk-in clinic, but appointments will be taken. The cost for farm workers is $15. To be treated, they need to bring proof of their farm worker status. She said the proof can also be in the form of a pay stub or a letter from the farmer they work for, stating the farmers name, the farm workers name and how much they are being paid.
Vaccines are free.
Carroll said this is not a completely new program. Prior to Contreras beginning work at the health and nutrition center in April of 2008, for 15 years Eldon Rogers was the coordinator of the migrant worker health services program. She said he became ill and retired in December of 2007.
Eldon was an incredible resource and an incredible community organizer and had set up a strong program here. So we are trying to rebuild that now. Getting this night program going is a part of that process, Carroll said.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 401-8573.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.

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