226 Patients Served: FernCare’s 2011 Successes

226 Patients Served: FernCare’s 2011 Successesmodern tax

FernCare, the community-created free health clinic, has finalized it’s numbers for 2011, and the results show that people are benefiting from this massive grassroots project.  They saw 226 patients, 94% of whom thought the clinic was helpful.

“I find this a blessing to have people dedicate their time to help others.  This is a wonderful service,” said one of the center’s patients.

Another said “I have discovered I have high blood pressure and they are helping me with that.  They recommended BCCCP program and I have had my mammogram and Pap since. Thank you so much!”

The FernCare Free Clinic (459 E. 9 Mile) had its ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Oct. 8, 2011, after three and a half years of fundraising and planning by hundreds of volunteers, donors and supporters.

Since Aug. 7, 2010 the volunteer staff of FernCare had been serving clients out of a temporary location at the Kulick Community Center.  By the end of their first six months they had treated 151 people and reached their capacity for new patients.

The idea began when a handful of Citizens for a Fair Ferndale volunteers got together to discuss the problem of health care at the end of the group’s November 2007 meeting.  Instead of just talking about it, they made the decision to do something.

Their spark lit the flames of a project that would involve nearly the entire city and the help of others beyond, and lead to the creation of The Fern Care Free Clinic.

The clinic will saw its first patients in their new brick mortar location at 459 E. 9 Mile on Saturday, September 24, 2011.  The building was essentially donated by Credit Union One, and much of the equipment, building materials and labor were donated by various givers.

Fern Care provides free non-emergency medical and mental health services for adults age 21-64, non-narcotic prescription medicine distribution, community resource referrals, and a possible future venue for some holistic health treatments and dental work.  Appointments are necessary, with more information available at www.ferncare.org.

FernCare also provides education and other health resources free to the community.  Even before opening the clinic doors, they have brought several services to people in the area. Their Let’s Talk Health lecture series educates the public about health issues such as living without health insurance, asthma, growing healthy food, yoga and more.  They also provide resources on other free health clinics, and services for low income individuals.

After the initial idea was sprung, former Ferndale Mayor Bob Porter came up with the name FernCare and sent out applications for volunteers for the FernCare Board.  Their first public forum was held at AJs Café in March of 2008, and their first official board meeting was held in April 2008.  The board had ten people at the time.

Heler took on the role of Board President and began the task of trying to figure out how to get a free clinic started.  She connected with Mary Ellen Howard of the Cabrini Free Clinic, which has been serving the people of SW Detroit since 1950.  This is the oldest free clinic in the US and has had 58 years to grow into the organization it is today.  Heler met with Charissa Shawcross of the Joy-Southfield Clinic and learned that they grew from their affiliation with the Methodist Church.  And Brian Harris of the Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic in Pontiac told her the story of how their clinic got started through doctors in honor of Dr. Burnstein, who saw patients for free from 1997-2003 when he passed away.  The clinic opened in his name the same year, thanks to generous benefactors.

Each free clinic offered inspiration and ideas, but none had begun as an independent, grass-roots project.  Heler and the other volunteers decided to carry forward and figure it out as they went along.  And their success, despite of the uncertainty, has come about thanks to the hundreds of people who have gotten involved so far. Over the years many have gotten involved, and the organization touches every area of the community.  From businesses like Capital One, AJs Café, Modern Tax and Accounting, and Dino’s – to the individuals who have served and donated, it has been a growing grassroots effort.

Now their focus is on growing and maintaining their volunteer staff, and maintaining funding.  They are also always looking for specialists who are willing to treat patients on a charity or sliding-scale basis.

The clinic is appointment only, and there is a waiting list for new patients.  To find out more about FernCare, or to give a donation to the cause, go to www.ferncare.org.

For prior FernCare stories in The Ferndale 115 News, go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/?s=ferncare.

Below are the 2011 statistics provided by FernCare:


FernCare 2011 Clinic Review
459 E. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, MI 48220
248-677-2273 – Appointments and Information
We served 226 patients in 2011.
Our clinic volunteers gave 13,513.50 hours to the clinic
At the IRS volunteer rate of 19.79 per volunteer, we were donated


in kind!
This is NOT counting time from the Board of Directors, Clinic staff outside of clinic hours
or Friends of the Board time.
38 volunteers filled out the Staff Satisfaction Survey
97% of the staff felt that the Patient Care Experience was
 very helpful to patients.
Comments from the Staff Satisfaction Surveys:
“very enjoyable”!, “love this job!”, “Everyone seems very friendly and happy to be here! Look forward
to the upcoming year!”, “My volunteer experience has been excellent, overall.”
None of our patients being treated for diabetes needed an amputation.
As far as we know, none of our patients went to the ER for a condition we are treating.
86 patients filled out a Patient Satisfaction Survey.
94% felt the clinic was very helpful.
Comments from the Patient Satisfaction Surveys:
“I find this a blessing to have people dedicate their time to help others.  This is a wonderful service.”  I have been very
satisfied with FernCare. I have discovered I have high blood pressure and they are helping me with that.  They
recommended BCCCP program and I have had my mammogram and Pap since. Thank you so much!” “I am so very
grateful for the services and referrals offered”.
NOTE:  all of the patients filled out Patient Information forms, not all patients responded to each question.
19 – 29


30 – 39


40 – 49


50 – 59


 ***51%of our patients are between 50 – 64.
60 – 64


Race/Ethnicity 118 patients responded Diagnosis




(Blood pressure)


High cholestrol














(digestion, acid reflux)
Unknown/didn’t say








Laboratory Tests


We did at least 1080 lab tests.
unknown/didn’t say


Based on an average of 28 patients per clinic
we requested 45 tests per clinic session
Top 5 Cities of Residence 40 cities represented




Prescriptions written
Hazel Park


We filled at least 1056 prescriptions last year.
Madison Heights


Based on an average of 44 prescriptions per clinic


Employment Status
Employed Full Time


Employed Part Time


Not employed


Unknown/didn’t say



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