21/06/2024

Care Health

Prioritize Healthy life

Wesley Health Center offers free healthcare to everyone

Wesley Health Center offers free healthcare to everyone

Dr. Jeremy Hunt helps patients with their primary care needs at Wesley Health Center in Connellsville.

This year, the mission started by Wesley United Methodist Church, Wesley Health Center, is celebrating 30 years of free health care.

“Wesley Health Center started out providing health care free to those who didn’t have health insurance, but then when Obamacare came along, many were struggling to pay their deductible or the co-pay for certain services, and we opened up services to anyone who couldn’t afford it even with insurance,” said Marilyn Weaver, the center’s executive director.

Several years ago, Weaver said those who oversee the center decided as long as the nonprofit was able, they’d provide free health care to anyone over the age of 18. That includes those who are uninsured or who have any type of insurance.

In addition to routine primary care appointments where patients are seen by Dr. Jeremy Hunt, those at the center are able to perform electrocardiograms, draw blood and conduct other simple tests in the office.

Weaver the health center continues to build upon their current operation.

“Ten years ago we were able to purchase a retinal camera, thanks to the local and International Lions Club,” Weaver said. “I once heard a doctor say that looking into the eye is the only way you can see inside the body without surgery.”

Weaver is referring to the many warning signs or even diagnoses optometrists can find through a simple retinal screening.

In Fayette County, which ranks third in diabetes cases in the state, the simple and quick process can identify issues relating to diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and even the first signs of an impending stroke.

From there, a participating eye doctor checks the screening and schedules an appointment at no charge in his office if a concern is identified.

There are also other reasons people choose to visit the center.

“Sometimes a patient needs medication that is super expensive. Dr. Hunt can often find a more affordable substitution,” Weaver said. “We had a man come in one day to get needles for his insulin shots and he said, ‘If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t be here’. I never forgot that because it’s in those moments you realize you’re really making a difference.”

Community partners have proven important at Wesley Health.

A local hospital runs all blood work for analysis and sends results back at no charge. Others, from the Lions Club, various churches, local chambers and businesses have donated funds to supply free flu shots at the center this winter.

“We literally stay open through grants we’ve received, United Way and local churches and businesses,” Weaver said. “We have local businesses host an annual golf outing or members of the public donating throughout the year. We’re very grateful for the community support.”

Most importantly, Weaver just wants people to spread the word.

“It’s here, anyone can come and there’s no stigma on staying healthy,” Weaver said. “I want people to realize that the health center is open to everyone and you are welcome to call us.”

Wesley Health Center is located at 410 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville. Visit https://wesleyhealthcenter.org/hours/ for more information.