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Holly Darcy, Samantha Saunders, Shelly Ford, RN, Dr. David Miller, Dr. Diane Howlin.

Chelsea Grace Clinic, which provides free medical care to the uninsured and underinsured residents of Western Washtenaw County, officially merged with Faith in Action last week.

Dr. Diane Howlin, the founding medical director, said the merger of the two non-profits would allow the volunteers who staff the clinic each Saturday to provide care to more people in the community.

A view from inside one of the exam rooms.

Among those volunteers are nine doctors who take turns staffing the clinic to provide non-urgent care. They are Randy Forsch, Rodney Dewyer, Carla Page, Jim Peggs, David Wesoreck, David Miller, Howlin, Matthew Moore, and John Crump.

Currently, they see about 120 patients each year, and depending on the community’s need, they’ll be able to “ramp up their efforts,” she said.

Howlin said when she left U-M Hospital and opened her own practice, Chelsea Medicine and Laser, she saw a need for the clinic and had no problem finding doctors who were willing to volunteer their services.

Faith in Action provides clinic space on the second floor of its building in the Chelsea Community Hospital campus area.

“We’ve had very little doctor turnover,” she said.

The clinic has two cozy exam rooms and a small office space upstairs, and as part of its future expansion plan, Howlin hopes to add dental care.

A scene from inside one of the exam rooms.

Among the advantages of the merger is the ability to increase the number of clinic service days, expand the clinic’s ability to obtain medication, assist with payment for lab work and other services, and “provide critical ongoing patient education and resources for health management,” according to information about the clinic.

The clinic provides non-urgent adult care for residents 18-65 years who don’t have insurance and who meet specific income guidelines. For more information, click here.

Howlin said the respective boards of the clinic and Faith in Action have been working on the merger for more than a year and it was finalized on Dec. 6.

“This merger allows us to benefit from Faith in Action administrative support and board oversight,” she said.

Shelly Ford, RN, a nurse volunteer, said she got involved with the clinic because “I love Faith in Action,” and she hopes more nurses will volunteer their time at Grace Clinic, which is currently open on Saturdays from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Opened in October of 2001, the clinic began under the umbrella of Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti. In 2009, it went out on its own. The clinic is supported by the Chelsea United Way, Chelsea Community Hospital, local churches and community organizations, individual donors, and several grants.

And, all the profits from the annual Heart and Soul race go toward the clinic, Howlin said.

“This was a personal thing for me,” Howlin said of opening the clinic. “It was a way to give back to the community.”

Courtesy photo. Chelsea United Way donation to Chelsea Grace Clinic.




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One Response to “Chelsea Grace Clinic and Faith in Action merge to provide additional services”

  1. Ann Feeney says:

    What a wonderful collaboration!! Congratulations to all involved. This is truly “faith in action”.