A truly open-door policy: That’s the practice at Traverse Health Clinic, after 2013 heralded a huge expansion in whom the Northern Michigan nonprofit organization can assist. Since its inception in 1975 as a free clinic run by volunteer physicians, Traverse Health Clinic has evolved to offer no- and low-cost primary care to thousands of Northern Michigan residents. But for a long time there were limitations on who could access services: one had to be between the ages of 19 and 64, live in specific counties, and be uninsured, among other restrictions. As of this year, however, Traverse Health Clinic is a “serve all” facility—regardless of age, income, insurance or residence. Having the ability to offer affordable care to kids and seniors in addition to the community’s underserved adults is a major victory for the clinic, says development and marketing director Sherri Fenton.
Fees at Traverse Health Clinic will continue to be set via a sliding scale, based on what each patient can afford. Most importantly, the clinic staff promises no one will ever be turned away for inability to pay. “We believe nobody should go without care,” Fenton says. “Now, we’re able to just wrap our arms around everybody.” traversehealthclinic.org.