Diverse group helps Startzman volunteers help others

Diverse group helps Startzman volunteers help others

Image Credit: Ellen Pill

The diversity of assistance offered by the Viola Startzman Clinic to residents of Wayne and Holmes counties knows no bounds.

“We’ve connected patients with car repairs, apartments, babysitting, educational and job training opportunities, financial literacy training, personal hygiene supplies, and so many other things that are typically not provided in a healthcare setting,” said Jaime Parsons, Startzman CEO.

A vast web of volunteers is involved in all areas of the clinic’s operations. John Miller is a semi-retired family physician who has been volunteering with the clinic since its inception.

“The clinic provides a critical safety net for a significant number of people,” Miller said. “I believe it is one of the best in the state and is well supported by our community, both financially and through volunteerism, and I hope this critical support continues in the future.”

Retired clinical dermatologist Jay Klemme also has been offering volunteer services since the beginning.

“It is unfortunate that we have a medical system that creates the need for a clinic like Startzman,” Klemme said. “Notwithstanding the very real progress afforded by the Affordable Care Act, it still can be a challenging process to get care. Simply navigating the system to figure out what options one has to get medical coverage can be really confusing. And once one has insurance, there still may not be access in our community to a provider who will accept it.”

Startzman volunteer Tim Breiner has expertise in helping people navigate the process of obtaining insurance. An “insurance assister,” Breiner is trained to provide guidance in navigating a wide range of options from Medicaid to Medicare supplements. He is a certified application counselor with the marketplace and is a Wayne County representative with the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program.

Breiner’s services are available to anyone in the community. “You don’t need to be a patient,” Breiner said. “Just call the clinic.”

The wearer of many volunteer hats, Breiner also assists with clerical work and even changes the wording on the outdoor sign at the dental center.

Retired RN Lynne Kuffner and her husband, retired dermatologist George Kuffner, both volunteer their services at Startzman. “We’re thrilled we have this opportunity to do what we love to do,” George Kuffner said.

Parsons said, “I have the opportunity to lead an amazing team of dedicated staff and volunteers who truly make a difference in the lives of our patients every day. They have open minds and are willing to think and act outside of the box to meet the needs of our patients and our community.”

There are many ways people can get involved to help out at the clinic. Volunteers, both professional and lay, are always welcome. Current needs include dentists and hygienists, a diabetic educator, fall and spring lawn clean-up teams, fundraising volunteers, and a few folks with a gift for administration or organization. The website at www.startzmanclinic.org contains additional information regarding volunteer opportunities, and volunteer coordinator BethAnne Burkhart can be emailed at bburkhart@startzmanclinic.org.

“The consistent ways the community can support us are through financial support, volunteerism and advocacy,” Parsons said.

Burkhart wanted to be sure anyone wishing to volunteer knows that with the concerns of COVID-19, they will make sure any volunteer anywhere in their clinic will be provided with the proper PPE to keep them safe while helping out.

Financial gifts and corporate sponsors are always welcome. The clinic is in need of individuals and/or businesses to help fund expansion of the mobile capabilities. Along with various pop-up services, mobile units will enable the clinic to offer more local services to Holmes County residents. There also is need for funds to help with the current expansion of dental operatories and medical exam rooms.

Parsons also asks community members to be advocates for the clinic.

“If you run into a person with a need we can help with, refer them to us,” she said. “If you run into someone with money they are looking to invest in a worthwhile cause, refer them to us. If you are at a retirement party for someone who is not quite ready to hang up their stethoscope or dental loupes, encourage them to come volunteer with us.”

There also is a need for pharmacists and pharmacy techs to partner with the clinic to help expand pharmacy programs and offer more affordable medications.

“It’s simply the right thing to do,” Klemme said of volunteering. “It is good for all in our community to have healthy folks living here.”

The Viola Startzman Clinic is currently offering COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone. Call 330-262-2500 and press 1. Appointments are strongly encouraged, but walk-ins are accepted. Pop-up clinics also are planned for various locations. Any group in need of COVID-19 vaccines is invited to call Parsons to discuss setting up a clinic. Various types of COVID-19 testing also are available.