VOA, Sparrow Open Health Care Clinic for the Homeless

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After five years of planning and construction, the homeless in Lansing now have a doctor's office. Organizers said it's the second of its kind in the country-- and Lansing should be proud.

Thursday the lobby was packed for the ribbon cutting ceremony. It was filled with donors and leaders, all glad to see their efforts paid off.

"Now we have an accredited and esteemed health leader in a homeless shelter. How many cities can say that?" said Patrick Patterson, the Executive Vice President of the Michigan Volunteers of America.

"It's exciting," said Sharon Dade, of the Volunteers of America. "I would like to come here and be served!"

Everything in the clinic is brand new. It's arguably the nicest clinic in town.

"Because it's a place where anybody would like to be served, it will bring great dignity and respect to the folks in our community that need it most," said Dade.

The clinic has one lab, and eight exam rooms--one of which can be used for procedures and minor surgeries.

"No more ER waiting. You can be seen where you live," said Dr. Lynn Nevin, the doctor who in charge of running the new clinic. "There is now a clinic where none existed before. There is now a healthcare team where none existed before, and we are able to bring consistent outpatient care where there wasn't before."

The medical team will give all kinds of primary care-- checking blood pressure, regulating hypertension and diabetes, giving pap smears, even doing small skin surgeries.

"This is going to make all the difference in the world in terms of helping folks that typically do not have access to primary care medical services, this will become their primary place of service for medical care," said Dade. "It will help us to identify people's disabilities better, document that, and help to get them entitlements that they really are entitled to but cannot prove often times."

The Volunteers of America hopes to add dental services to part of the building within one year.

"Teeth pain is 18 percent of ER visits, and there are no dentists at the ER," said Patterson.

The clinic will see its first patients on Monday.

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