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Hope Community Health Center in Champaign

Just about two weeks ago, Hope Community Health Center opened its doors to residents of Champaign County. Hope is a non-religiously affiliated, non-profit corporation offering both medical and psychiatric treatments. The clinic is among only a handful of centers that offer medical services to those who have trouble obtaining medical care. Not surprisingly, these clinics struggle to serve as many people as possible. Some of Hope’s aims are to provide treatment for those without health insurance, those who cannot get treatment through Medicaid or get timely appointments at other clinics. Tomorrow evening, an art benefit will be held at 610 W. Oregon St. in Urbana and all proceeds will be going to Hope. All are welcome, especially if you enjoy painting.

With the failing economy and increasing prices of health insurance, Hope opened its doors at just the right moment. Families, young adults out of college, the elderly — all struggle to pay for insurance. And many simply don’t have insurance. Once I’m done with school my parent’s insurance will cease to cover me — as is the case with most students. Realistically, I probably won’t be getting insurance until I find a job that covers me. Until then, if that day ever comes, I’ll have to adopt home remedies or wait in line at the clinic.

There has always been a stigma against free clinics; that they are unprofessional and unorganized. But with more and more people who simply cannot afford insurance, there is a great need for accessible medical care. Hope was founded by Dr. Cristina Medrano and is fully staffed by volunteer physicians, psychologists and nurses. The center is a professional and safe option for those who cannot access treatment otherwise. Their central aim is to improve quality of life for residents in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Because the health center is a non-profit corporation and since patients will not be charged for services, all the funding comes from private donations and government grants. The cost of running the center includes overhead costs of rent, utilities and supplies. While the start-up costs have all been covered to this point, any future costs depend on fundraising for donations and grants. This is an excellent opportunity for members of the C-U community to come together and support a great cause. So please feel welcome to stop by at the Hope art benefit Saturday evening. Your support is needed.

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