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Fontanelle Observer

Tindle enjoys giving back by serving at free clinic

Free Clinic in Greenfield provides healthcare opportunities to those without health insurance or with high deductibles

Deb Tindle
Deb Tindle

Since she was a little girl, Deb Tindle knew she wanted to be a nurse — it was a “lifelong plan” of hers since almost the beginning.

Tindle retired from Adair County Health System May 31, 2017, just a couple of months before should would’ve celebrated 32 years working at the hospital.

It was the day-to-day interactions with patients that kept Tindle going to work everyday. She had an employer she says she’s still grateful she had the opportunity to work for all of her career.

Before she retired, Tindle talked with Deb Blazek, the administrator at the Greenfield United Methodist Church Free Clinic, to see if they needed an extra volunteer nurse.

Blazek gladly helped Tindle get up to speed with the technological needs of the position and Tindle still, to this day, fills in on occasion at the clinic.

In an interview with the newspaper, Blazek said that when you look at statewide unemployment numbers and the removal of a $600 benefit for those drawing unemployment last week, it’s surprising that more people haven’t participated in Greenfield’s free clinic.

The Greenfield UMC Free Clinic is one of 30 clinics like it in the state. Other such clinics that are remotely close to Adair County are in Dallas, Page and Decatur counties.

Services offered at the free clinic include illness or minor injury care, well child exams, school and sports physicals, employment physicals, limited chronic disease management, diabetes and blood glucose and high blood pressure testing.

“We have seen some new patients come into our clinic but not nearly to match what we anticipated it should be,” Blazek said. “We can’t believe people aren’t suffering a little bit.”

Marvel Blazek, a retired nurse practitioner, is the provider at the free clinic.

“If someone comes in with acute care, like a fever or cough, Marvel is certainly qualified to look at that, give a preliminary diagnosis and prescription. She may go ahead and refer you to some additional testing out at the hospital, but that’s the type of thing we tend to look at,” Deb Blazek said.

The free clinic in Greenfield started in 2016 with Marvel and Deb receiving help from then Pastor Eric Schubert and a host of others to get it off the ground. The clinic is held the same night as the food pantry at the church.

Deb Blazek cautioned that the free clinic should not be seen as an opponent of more traditional hospital care. Instead, they work together with the providers at the hospital, when needed, to meet all of the community’s healthcare needs.

If the free clinic cannot treat a certain issue, they will refer those patients on to another provider.

“These days, there’s such a high number of people who do have insurance but have a high deductible on it that they’re not able to go to a doctor because you’re going to have to pay all of it up to maybe $5,000 or $6,000 out of their own pocket,” Tindle said. “We don’t bill any insurance. You can see our practitioner. It’s reassurance that parents can still get their child in for the care they need and not have to pay that high deductible. There are a lot of benefits.”

The Greenfield UMC Free Clinic is the first and third Tuesday of each month at the church with registration happening from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and visits occurring between 6 and 8 p.m.

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