St. Vincent's Medical Mission at Home

Volunteers help the poor with health care

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Health insurance can be pricey but getting treated without it can more than break the bank. St. Vincent’s gave a hand to those in need with its first Medical Mission at Home allowing the uninsured and underinsured the chance to get basic health care for free. The event happened at  Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Advanced Technology Center downtown. Four hundred volunteers helped those in need.

“I haven’t finished all my procedures so far but, they’re looking at a lot of variations from eyesight to my blood pressure to my heart issues things of that nature,” said patient Ron Escueta.

“To get the free care that I haven’t had in a while. I haven’t had my blood sugar checked. I want my vision checked. I haven’t had that done. And trying to afford the Obamacare, health care, I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t able to come up with the money,” Sahdina Loveland said.

No matter the problem, patients like Escueta and Loveland came to St. Vincent’s first Medical Mission at Home to get something they can’t pay for, health care. Both Escueta and Sahdina know how valuable this is if you're having to pay for visits to the emergency room without insurance or having insurance that you can’t afford.

“Affordable is like $25-$30. You know what I mean? You can get things done with that,” Loveland said.

“I’ve been billed $86,000 for it, for three days and four nights for a surgery. I’ve been billed at emergency rooms So, I haven’t paid,” Escueta said.

Instead of going abroad for medical mission trips, Dr. Mike Schatzlein told News4Jax this is their opportunity to help those in need at home. People like John Henry, who just got a new hearing aid.

“Yes I did. I hear a lot better than what I did,” Henry said.

For Schatzlein and the other volunteers washing feet and checking blood pressure, giving up a Saturday was an easy thing to do.

“But, this is more real for us. Our associates get to be closer to and spend more time and people who aren’t in direct patient care get to spend time with patients and some folks who are struggling. And, also, our goal is to is not just to deal with their issues today but to help get them plugged in to the system so that we can help folks stay healthier and not get so sick and need to come to the ER,” Schatzlein said.

The patients who had treatment Saturday will be assigned a medical home. That means they’ll get a primary care physician whom they can see year round and actually afford. For those who couldn’t make the event can, call 904-308-1956, and they’ll help work out some options.