Clinic closing its doors on Monday

Free health clinic comes to end of mission

Jill Schramm/MDN Clarice Purdy, a volunteer at City & Country Health Clinic since it opened in 1999, and volunteer Kelly Thom go through patient files to be shredded and brochures to be recycled in cleaning out the clinic Thursday.

City & Country Health Clinic will see its last patients on Monday.

In its 18 years of operation, the free clinic has treated thousands of patients who lacked health insurance, improved the health of many and saved the lives of some through early diagnosis of serious conditions such as diabetes.

But on Thursday, volunteers were emptying file cabinets and clearing out clinic space in First Lutheran Church.

“The board just decided it was time. We have served our mission,” said Candy Johnson, clinic manager and registered nurse. “There’s nobody who will go without care. They have other options.”

One of those options is Northland Community Health Center, a nonprofit that opened in Minot in 2014 to provide care regardless of financial or insurance status.

“We are not closing because of lack of need or money. The board just felt that we have served our mission,” Johnson said.

Lack of volunteers wasn’t an issue, either. Medical providers continued to step up, particularly those with the UND Center for Family Medicine in recent years. Volunteers helping with the closure expressed a sadness in seeing the clinic’s service come to an end.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Johnson said. “We certainly have served many people, but we are sad because we have enjoyed what we have done helping people, too.”

She said there are many generous donors to thank for the clinic’s successful run. Among them is First Lutheran.

“First Lutheran Church has been very gracious in providing space for us and janitorial services,” she said.

The list of volunteers also would be in the hundreds, beginning with Dr. Paul Olson, whose vision led to the creation of the clinic.

Volunteers estimate the clinic saw eight to 10 patients a week on average. Recently the clinic has been open only Monday evenings, but there were times over the years when it was open two or three times a week.

The clinic will be sending its equipment – such as exam tables, blood pressure cuffs and diabetic monitors – to Global Health Ministries for distribution to Third World countries.