A Holiday Mission of MERCI: CWF Calls on Members to Support Work of MERCI Clinic

Sandy Eichelberger

It is a CWF holiday tradition for the president to choose a charity, and encourage members to make a donation. This year, CWF President, Sandy Eichelberger, has chosen MERCI Clinic, and is inviting members to join her in supporting its mission.

Since its establishment in 1996, MERCI Clinic has provided low-income, uninsured adult residents of Craven, Pamlico and Jones Counties with free, direct medical and limited dental care. This non-profit organization offers a variety of services including behavioral health care, specialty clinics, referrals for diagnostic testing, critical diabetes education & management, as well as necessary pharmaceuticals. “I hate to see people ending up in emergency rooms,”, Sandy said, “because that’s not where you’re supposed to go when you have minor illnesses. Too many people end up in emergency rooms that don’t belong there.” MERCI Clinic offers an alternative for those who can’t afford to see a physician for primary or preventative care.

MERCI Clinic also refers patients to off-site physicians for specialized services. These include neurology, urology, cardiology, dermatology, podiatry, urgent dental care, and annual eye screening for patients with diabetes.

How does MERCI Clinic provide all these services and keep low-income adults from inappropriately seeking medical care in emergency rooms? The organization relies on the generosity and expertise of 100 medical and non-medical volunteers, as well as the partnerships that enable MERCI Clinic to provide necessary referrals. These volunteers and partnerships made it possible for MERCI Clinic to serve 776 low-income individuals in 2016 who would otherwise have gone without medical care.

Sandy had several reasons for choosing MERCI Clinic as CWF’s 2017 President’s Charity. Because of her work in the health care field, she is keenly aware of ever-rising costs and the staggering number of people who struggle to pay for the care they need. She was impressed with the number of medical professionals willing to volunteer their time, and with the fact that MERCI Clinic includes preventative care among its services. Also, because MERCI Clinic is a local entity, dollars donated by CWF members will remain in the community. “By keeping your money local,” Sandy noted, “You know where it’s going. It might be your neighbor, someone down the street, or someone your kids go to school with. You’ll be able to see the results in your own community.”

Craven, Jones and Pamlico Counties are designated as medically underserved areas, where access to medical care for low-income uninsured residents is limited. MERCI Clinic stands between these individuals and inappropriate emergency room visits, the development of serious illnesses and chronic diseases.

Through donations, volunteers and medical partnerships, MERCI Clinic is able to provide an average of $5,449 worth of medical services for $684 per patient on an annual basis. Monitory donations help provide direct medical care for patients, medical and dental supplies, office supplies, office management, utilities and upkeep. A contribution to MERCI Clinic is a gift to individuals and the community.

Upcoming CWF Events

December 5: Holiday Dinner Meeting at the Chelsea. Networking begins at 5:30 PM with dinner at 6:00.

December 20: Holiday Lunch at New Bern Golf and Country Club. Networking begins at 11:30 AM with lunch at noon.

To register for these events, or for more information, visit CoastalWomensForum.com.