On Mon., Dec. 18, officials from Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) and the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a Project HOPE site at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center on 18th Street in Wheeling.
“It is so exciting to see this level of collaboration. This endeavor means so much to all of us working together to provide comprehensive and meaningful care to the most vulnerable of our neighbors,” said Beth Zarate, chief executive officer of CCWVa.
Project HOPE/Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department will operate a public health homeless outreach healthcare clinic under the direction of the department’s employed Project HOPE staff of Dr. William C. Mercer, Dr. Thomas Wack and Crystal Bauer, RN.
Crystal Bauer, RN/Director of Project HOPE, said she is thrilled to see these plans coming to fruition.
“I have always believed that we can make a bigger impact and reach those dangerously close to homelessness with a clinic inside the 18th Street (Neighborhood) Center,” said Bauer. “I am excited to see the success of this clinic and the growth of this new partnership.”
Project HOPE will hold clinic hours on Saturdays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. beginning Jan. 6. Primary health services provided will include general medical exams, over the counter medication dispensing, general health consultation, referrals and other services. Clients served by Project HOPE will not be required to pay for services.
Beth Collins, northern regional director of CCWVa, said the social services provided by the Neighborhood Center staff will partner well with the health care services provided by Project HOPE.
“The medical outreach group, Project HOPE, is doing incredible work out on the streets in Wheeling, but they have regularly commented that they are not social workers or case managers,” Collins said. “Often times, they have been trying to do the work of case managers, in addition to their volunteer work with Project HOPE and regular work as health care professionals. We are excited for this partnership because they will have consistent access to CCWVa’s case manager and our resources.”
Wheeling Hospital will be providing medications for the clinic at no charge.
“This clinic and the medications are lessening the burden on the West Virginia tax payer and on the health care system,” said Bauer.
According to Bauer, the cost of an individual going to an emergency room for an antibiotic rather than a primary care provider is three times greater.
“Catholic Charities West Virginia, particularly through its Neighborhood Center in Wheeling, continues its beautiful work in helping those in most need in the Wheeling area. With generous assistance from Wheeling Hospital, who will provide free medications and other services, the Project HOPE healthcare clinic will help Catholic Charities answer Christ’s call to care for the sick. I am pleased that this partnership, in addition to the expansion of the wonderful care offered at Wheeling Hospital, will continue our mission to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Members of the press are invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center at 125 18th Street in Wheeling.