Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shalom Free Clinic Review

This was my first time at the clinic, since I had heard from my friends that it was a good place to go to for check-ups and referrals. 

I don't have a regular doctor, even though I have insurance, not every doctor accepts it and some can't take any more patients. It's really frustrating to get healthcare in Chico, and sometimes Enloe and its Prompt Care center isn't that great. I've never been to the Immediate Care center downtown (I've heard it's bad!), or the former Del Norte clinics which have changed their name to Ampla Health. 

So I biked on over to the church on East First Ave, and looked for the entrance to the clinic. At first I couldn't see where to go, there was a sign but I almost went into the church office before I went around back to the children's preschool area where they had the clinic. I would suggest maybe more signs or at least a chalk arrow for people arriving at the other end. 

You sign up at the front entrance, where you can also give a donation and take a number. It's all anonymous, so you don't have to worry about putting your name down or anything like that. Then you go to the waiting room, where there is some food and drinks and wait. I would suggest bringing something to read, because it's a long wait, especially if they are busy. 

There was a pharmacist guy to answer any medication questions and a table where you could learn about how to eat right. It's OPT for Healthy Living program, and I talked to the volunteers who are health and nutrition majors. 

Since it was my first time, I had to wait for them to make me a folder, discuss my privacy rights and set up my first visit with a doctor or nurse. Another person took my vital signs (blood pressure, heart beat rate, etc.), so nothing too scary.

Then I waited in line for my number to be called.

I was just there for a referral (Gynecology), so I didn't need to see a doctor or nurse for anything important. But I had to wait about two-and-a-half hours before I finally asked to speak to someone and they wrote down where I could go.

Shalom Free Clinic is a non-emergency clinic and you are advised that if you have an emergency, seek immediate medical help somewhere else. For a list of what the Shalom Free Clinic provides, go to their website: 

The types of services they provide include basic medical and mental/behavior health services. The Shalom Free Clinic is open every Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with no appointment needed. There is no charge for services they provide. 

The Clinic is entirely staffed by both medical and non-medical volunteers. You can also volunteer ( to provide medical or non-medical help such as Waiting Room Attendant, Food and Drink Server, Receptionist, and more. 

The only types of medical services they don't provide include: emergency care, Lab or X-rays, Worker's Compensation Injuries, Insurance physicals, Vision problems, Court ordered tests, etc., Dental problems, etc. 

Other links available:

Shalom Free Clinic 

Free Cooking classes for adults (English/Spanish/Hmong), OPT for Healthy Living. Visit: for healthy tips. 

Sierra Cascade Region for Champions for Change:

Get Cookin’ is a 6 week hands-on cooking class using the nationally renowned curriculum, Cooking Matters. These are free cooking and nutrition classes offered to low-income families in Chico, Oroville, and Thermalito in English, Spanish, and Hmong. During the once a week, 2 hour class, families improve their cooking skills and engage in nutrition education activities. Experience in the kitchen leads to learning how to incorporate healthy eating into their daily lives. A bag of groceries with the ingredients of the day’s recipe is given to each participating family. Families will learn how to eat healthy on a budget.
To sign up for a Get Cookin’ class series, call OPT for Healthy Living (see flyer).