First Presbyterian building free clinic


B.C. Kowalski/City Pages

First Presbyterian official Jeffrey Todd shows off the space where the church’s free clinic will go.

A church might seem an odd place for a community health clinic, but First Presbyterian Church officials in downtown Wausau say it fits right with the church’s mission.

By fall of this year the church plans to open a free clinic in the area now used as a food pantry, says Jeffrey Todd, ruling church elder in charge of the project. The pantry is part of the church’s mission, and so is serving the economically disadvantaged with a free clinic, Todd says. The pantry will move to a space elsewhere in the church.

Church leaders are working with two providers—Bridge Community Health Clinic in Wausau and Family Health Center in Marshfield—to avoid duplicating services. With physician volunteers, the church’s clinic could provide services the other two don’t, or can’t meet because of demand.

Marathon County Community Health Officer Joan Theurer says her office is helping identify what those needed services are. The clinic would operate Wednesday afternoons to start, Todd says, and expand as the church finds more volunteer doctors. It will serve those within 250% of the federal poverty—the income restriction for those receiving insurance subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

Estimates put the cost of the clinic, with four exam rooms and counseling rooms, at nearly $250,000. Todd says that means the church has of some fundraising to do. (B.C.K.)