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Pandemic leads to increase in new patients at Carmel’s Trinity Free Clinic

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Mel Wischmeyer wanted to be as prepared as possible for her potential new job as executive director of Trinity Free Clinic.

“Ironically, I purchased a book back in January when I first started talking to (TFC) called, ‘The First 90 Days,’” she said. “But there was not a chapter on what to do if you start your job during a pandemic.”

The Westfield resident started her new job in early May, during a time the clinic was shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s actually been a blessing because I have really been able to ease into learning about all of the different services and clients and providers that make the clinic what it is,” Wischmeyer said.

The clinic at 1045 W. 146th St. in Carmel offers free medical, dental and health services to Hamilton County residents who are uninsured, underinsured or low income. Since gradually reopening after an eight-week shut down, Wischmeyer said the need for the clinic’s free services has increased as the pandemic has led to layoffs and furloughs in Hamilton County and beyond, with many of those affected also losing health insurance. 

In 2018, the clinic served 3,220 patients at 6,362 visits. The value of services provided was nearly $1.5 million.

Wischmeyer said she has previously been a single parent without health insurance and understands how difficult that can be.

“I worried how I was going to provide good health care for my children,” she said. “You don’t expect that need exists in Hamilton County. Everyone thinks it’s all affluence. But there are a lot of people that need the free services to overcome current hurdles to get them to the next phase to get them healthy.”

Wischmeyer, who has a background in communications and fundraising, said her initial goals are to increase awareness of the clinic, alert potential donors of the good work done there and recognize the clinic’s many volunteers.

“(Most of) the doctors and nurses and the people that work here are working full-time, demanding jobs,” she said. “They come home, they are worn out, yet they still make the time to serve our client base. I think that’s beautiful, and it speaks to their commitment to ensure good health for everyone.”

Most of the clinic’s services have resumed, although walk-ins will not be accepted during the pandemic. The clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Friday. Schedule an appointment by calling 317-819-0772, and learn more at TrinityFreeClinic.org.


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