Covenant's Medical Clinic at 5716 Wellness Helps Those Who Need It Most

May 31st, 2011
Lakayla Stewart waits for the doctor in a clinic room at Covenant Community Care

An anxious mother tenderly strokes the hair of her daughter, Fabiola. They are seated in the waiting room of the new Covenant Community Care medical center at 5716 Wellness.

Fabiola’s breathing is labored and she has an air of fatigue.

“My asthma is bad because of spring allergies,” Fabiola says. She is in fifth grade at Roberto Clemente Academy, where she was named “Student of the Month” recently.

Her mother, Carritina Baron, is a waitress at a restaurant in Mexicantown. Her father works as a house painter. Neither job offers health insurance.

“I thank God for this clinic,” Carritina says. “They attend to everyone, whether you have insurance or not, and the cost is not too much. They have very good doctors and nurses, and they treat you nicely.”

After a short wait, Fabiola is taken into one of the clinical rooms and receives a respiratory treatment. She feels better almost immediately.

“I love to sing, but it’s hard when you’re short of breath,” Fabiola says. “When I get home, though, I think I’ll sing a Justin Timberlake song.” She smiles.

Nathan Jones, 48, is being treated in another room. He, too, lacks health insurance. He has been having chest pains, which he suspects may be due to stress.

“If I couldn’t come here, I would have to go to the emergency room, which I cannot afford,” Nathan says. “Covenant has become my primary care provider.”

An emergency room visit would have cost the taxpayers more than $1000. Nathan’s visit to Covenant costs him about $30.

Nathan has been unemployed for almost nine years after being laid off from his IT job with Electronic Data Systems (EDS). He has been looking for work diligently, but has been unable to find anything in his field locally.

“I have been on both sides of the track, prosperity and poverty, abound and abase,” Nathan says, referencing Philippians 4:12. “For me, this place is wonderful right now, but my goal is to make a good living again and hope that somebody else who’s down on his luck will benefit from this care like me.”

In another room, Lakayla Stewart, 32, waits for the doctor to come in. She has her head down and feels deep-seeded chills. She is covered by Medicaid.

“I come to Covenant for care because they are good, courteous and careful,” Lakayla says.

Lakayla lost her job at a Detroit casino three years ago. She had worked as a cashier and IT technician.

“I can build a computer from scratch, but I can’t find a job even though I’ve been looking hard,” Lakayla says. “But I am still grateful that I have a roof over my head and my child and I can eat.”

The stories of Fabiola’s family, Nathan and Lakayla illustrate how important Covenant’s medical clinic is for the unemployed and working poor in Detroit.

The medical clinic and Covenant’s Family Dental Center occupy the first floor of 5716 Wellness, the new integrated healthcare center at 5716 Michigan Avenue in southwest Detroit. (A story about the dental center was posted earlier.)

The medical clinic serves the uninsured and underinsured. It provides a host of medical services, including primary care, pediatric, obstetric, behavioral health, and pharmacy. The cost of care is based on a sliding scale depending on income.

The clinic has been open for about a month now and is seeing about a 100 patients a week. 77% of the patients are from Detroit. 68% of the patients are uninsured. 26% have Medicaid. The clinic expects 12,000 patient visits a year.

“Our mission is to provide integrated, affordable, and quality health care to those who need it most,” says Paul Propson, executive direction of Covenant. “In addition, our holistic approach attends to the physical, spiritual, and psychological health of the individuals and families we serve.”

The Covenant medical clinic is open six days a week, including Saturday. For more information, call 313-554-1095.

Covenant Community Care is one of the six partner agencies at 5716 Wellness, the new integrated healthcare center at 5716 Michigan Avenue. The other partners are Southwest Solutions, Life Directions, Moms And Babes Too, Madonna University’s Southwest (Detroit) Women’s Educational Empowerment Program (SWEEP), and Children’s Outreach.

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