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A special individual helps the Rock River Free Clinic come alive

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fort HealthCare nurses, physicians and staff from all departments work diligently to not only provide exceptional care to our patients, but also contribute selflessly to a variety of community causes and events.  

Dr. Greg Gehred is one such person. As medical director of the Rock River Free Clinic and a physician on staff at Fort Memorial Hospital, he is a compassionate healthcare professional who enhances both the amount and quality of healthcare in Jefferson County and surrounding communities.

Dr. Gehred shared his vision, expertise and compassion when the local community most needed it by offering free medical services and medical direction to the Rock River Free Clinic in Jefferson, Wisconsin. The clinic is comprised of area organizations, including Fort HealthCare and Watertown Memorial Hospital, and other medical volunteers who share the common vision of serving those without medical insurance. For many years the clinic was an unrealized dream because the clinic was without a medical director.

Gail Scott, RN, chair of the clinic and director of the Jefferson County Health Department said, "The administration and staff at Jefferson County Health Department knew there was a dire need for free medical and dental care for low-income individuals and families without health insurance. The one stumbling block was the need to recruit a physician who would agree to be the clinic’s medical director.”

In 2002, Dr. Gehred graciously volunteered not only to help get the clinic started but also agreed to be the medical director. Since the clinic opened on March 6, 2003, Dr. Gehred has volunteered countless hours working at the clinic, recruiting other physicians, reviewing policies and procedures, and recruiting pharmacies and hospital labs to be on-call for stat lab results and patient emergencies. He has also gotten other physicians and clinics to donate medications and supplies.

Today, the clinic offers immediate non-emergency care and referrals to specialists as indicated as well as:

  • Preventive medical exams for adults
  • Medical exams for acute and chronic illness for adults and children with follow up care as needed
  • Limited lab tests and x-rays
  • Basic Eye exams
  • Assistance with prescriptions ordered by clinic physicians

Pat C. is one of many patients of the free clinic cared for by Dr. Gehred. "One of my first impressions of the Rock River Free Clinic was Dr. Gehred and his thoughtfulness, his sincerity and his thoroughness. I was so impressed. He let nothing go by, yet as a person, I really felt he cared about me. I am very thankful that he started this clinic because I could make use of it. Little did I know that, a little over a year ago, I found myself without health insurance, and that's a scary thing. I'm so grateful that I still have a place to go where integrity and quality of service are not forgotten."

Fort HealthCare supports the Rock River Free Clinic by covering the cost of laboratory and radiology expenses incurred by patients donating more than $130,000 over the last three years in lab and radiology services.  A loyal group of Fort Memorial Hospital physicians and staff regularly volunteer their time and services to the clinic.