Although we’ve been seeing patients for more than a month, yesterday we held the official opening ceremony to celebrate our brand new Spanish Catholic Center Montgomery Medical Clinic. More than 70 friends and fellow doctors o low-income patients in the region joined us to witness Cardinal Donald Wuerl bless the facility and pray for the staff and patients.
Cardinal Wuerl spoke of the urgency and panic a health crisis can bring – especially for someone without health insurance. He emphasized that through the work of the Spanish Catholic Center and Catholic Charities, we are the face of Christ to many. Following the blessing, staff and doctors gave guests tours of the new facility before our afternoon appointments arrived.
There were three major reasons we made the move. First, it was an undeniable opportunity to create a state-of-the-art facility in line with our goal to always offer the highest quality care to our patients. Eventually, the new clinic will see a higher number patients per month, once we are fully settled into our new home.
Second, it made sense as we strive to meet and address the larger needs of a shifting and growing immigrant population. Residents in Langley Park have several options for community-based health clinics (though these services combined hardly meets the incredible health care crisis many Latinos face). In our new Silver Spring/Wheaton community, there are very few options for affordable health care for low-income families. Still, as we were considering this move, we asked our patients if they supported the move and would continue to come to us for care. An overwhelming 85 percent said they would join us at the new clinic.
Third, our new location at the Cardinal McCarrick Center already hosts a Spanish Catholic Center Dental Clinic and several other Catholic Charities programs including immigration legal services, the Montgomery County Family Center, Sanctuaries for Life and Parish Partners. This allows us to provide holistic services to our patients by meeting many needs. We know all too well that the barriers immigrants face are rarely simple.
The Spanish Catholic Center operates two medical clinics and two dental clinics in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia that serve uninsured or underinsured patients. Our clinics are among the few who offer walk-in appointments to patients – as we know how important it is for everyone to be able to access a doctor.
The move was only possible thanks to several great partners, including the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Health Care Initiative Foundation, DC United and several other great friends who shared our vision for providing health care for low-income Hispanic families. Carefirst and Kaiser Permanente covered the cost of bringing all four of our clinics online with an electronic health records system.
So, now we can officially say, “The doctor will see you now” or “El médico lo verá ahora!”