In order to better serve children who lack health care, the Community Outreach Medical Center is on a mission to open a pediatric wing.
“It is the children who need this service,” said Dr. Daliah Wachs, who works with the center.
The Community Outreach Medical Center provides care for underserved residents. Wachs said services include wellness checks, prenatal care, cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Since 2005, an estimated 48,900 people have received medical care from the center.
Medicaid is accepted, but other payments depend on what patients can afford.
“We do payments on a sliding scale,” Wachs said. “This saves the taxpayers millions in emergency room visits. We expect our numbers to grow even more with the large amount of uninsured and struggling families in Nevada.”
Wachs said Nevada has an estimated 65,000 uninsured children, which include some children who are undocumented immigrants or just fall through the cracks of insurance coverage. In order to provide medical assistance to those children, the center wants to add a pediatric wing.
“And we want to make (the pediatric wing) free for them,” she said.
The center is in the process of raising $100,000 for the wing.
“We are about 10 percent into our goal,” Wachs says.
They have reached out to donors and plan to hold fundraisers in the next few months.
In order to help raise the money for the clinic, the center has put on a fundraiser similar to the ice-bucket challenge. That fundraiser was popularized by social media to raise money and awareness for ALS by having a participant either dump icy water on their head or contribute money.
“Toast and a $20,” the name of the Community Outreach Medical Center fundraiser, invites people to make a toast using tea, juice or even marshmallows and then donate $20 to the clinic. To see an example, visit http://bit.ly/1shDhKb.
“We have gotten good response from it so far,” Wachs says.
Even after the wing opens, Wachs said, the center envisions doing more.
She said many people often can’t afford follow-up visits to the specialists they need to see.
For instance, if a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, they wouldn’t have the money to see another doctor.
“And that’s where we lose them,” Wachs says. “You can only put a bandage on the problem for so long.”
Wachs hopes they can one day bring in specialists to see children in addition to the doctors they have.
“I also want the clinic to have education on obesity, nutrition or STDs. Maybe bring a nutritionist to give classes.”
Even beyond that, she thinks the pediatric wing could offer some sort of mental health component.
Contact reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201. Follow @mjlyle on Twitter.