Excellent healthcare is on the move.
Lincoln Parish’s Health Hut, which has an office at 310 W. Mississippi Ave., saw more than 6,000 patients come either through its building’s doors or its mobile unit last year and hopes to continue its medical services into this new year.
“The mission of The Health Hut has always been ‘to fill the gap of providing quality healthcare to the citizens of Lincoln Parish,’” said Dr. Jaquelyn White, medical director. “We continue to evaluate what those primary gaps are through various ways. As the needs slowly change, we try to change as well, so that we are helping as many as possible.”
The Health Hut started seeing patients in 2011 as just a mobile medical clinic, White said, but through a collaboration with the city of Ruston, the city donated its current building on West Mississippi Avenue for the non-profit to use. The Health Hut started seeing patients there, as well as the mobile clinic, in 2015, and have continued to expand.
“We had over 6,000 visits last year,” White said. “That included medical/primary care, nursing visits, dietitian, counseling, mammograms and telemedicine. That averages out to about 25 visits a day. We are open five days a week at our building on West Mississippi, and our bus is running three days a week.”
The bus travels across the parish, as well.
“The bus is in Grambling every Tuesday, Dubach every Wednesday, and Simsboro every Thursday,” White said. “We try to stay on that same schedule so that people get use to knowing where we are and trying to plan accordingly, but a patient can be seen at any location.”
White said one of the aspects about the Health Hut that drew her in was that she could see patients who had nowhere else to go for primary care and who would turn to the emergency room for simple treatments.
“They would show up in the ER for medication refills, or simple ailments, because of limited access to care,” she said. “We are able to devote the time and education needed to help so many people caught in the gap of uninsured, and later to include patients with Medicaid, but limited options for primary care.”
Another service offered at The Health Hut is allowing college and graduate students to experience healthcare services at the clinic.
“We have had multiple students come through for clinical experience and shadowing,” White said. “We currently have two pre-med students and one nurse practitioner student that is shadowing our staff. We have had students from nursing, dietetics, counseling, pre-med and from the LA Tech VISTA program participate. This is a blessing for our patients, students and the community, as we are able to give them experience in the healthcare field and encourage them to give back to the community.”
Prior to 2017, The Health Hut was 100% funded by grants. Most of its funding is from the Lincoln Health Foundation, which is also committed to promoting quality healthcare in Lincoln Parish. Since the expansion of Medicaid, The Health Hut also began accepting Medicaid in 2017 for those patients who chose to continue coming there, but it covers less than 10% of the budget.
Residents in Lincoln Parish can support The Health Hut in a variety of ways.
“We do graciously accept donations, and our patients often give something monetary when they can,” White said.
Those who wish to donate can send checks, or make donations online at www.thehealthhut.org. That money primarily goes for supplies — mostly home blood pressure cuffs, glucometers and strips, scales, nebulizers and similar materials.
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