First Laboratory Installation of 2021 grant

Patients of the Heart Ministry Center will soon be able to get laboratory test results on-site because of the Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness grant program.

The Heart Ministry Center, located in North Omaha, Nebraska, and established in 1997, has always aimed to assist people needing life’s most necessities, including a food pantry, job placement program and case management. In 2005 the center partnered with Creighton University to provide free medical care on a walk-in basis. Staffed by Creighton University nurse practitioners, the clinic can treat everyday health concerns. More than 46 percent of the center’s clients are living below the poverty line, and on average, the center provides medical assistance to more than 2,000 individuals each year.

The Heart Ministry Center is one of six clinics nationwide in 2021 to receive funds for a point of care laboratory. The program is sponsored by medical technology company BD (Becton, Dickinson, and Company) and implemented by Heart to Heart International and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

The grant includes new laboratory equipment, four instruments, and five kits that check for hemoglobin A1c and cholesterol levels and test for HIV, the flu, strep, and other conditions.

Now the laboratory tests will be performed on site, and the provider will have those results before they see the patient. In the past, the clinic would have to send the lab tests to a separate location, taking extra time for results. With this new capability, if the provider has an abnormal test result, they can address it with the patient right then.

In July, medical laboratory scientists Tena Tiruneh and Charles McDonald from Heart to Heart International were in Omaha, Nebraska, to install the point of care laboratory in the clinic. They also trained the two staff members, Dr. Lisa Johnson and Dr. Martha Todd, nurse practitioners at the Heart Ministry Center.

Dr. Johnson said the overall training was excellent, and Dr. Todd was glad to feel more comfortable with the new instruments.

Future trainings and installations will be held in:

Community Care Clinic of Rowan County                Salisbury, NC                     

Centre Volunteers in Medicine                                  State College, PA              

Grace Clinic of Yadkin County                                    Elkin, NC                            

Peoples’ Health Clinic                                                  Park City, UT                    

Volunteers in Medicine-Berkshires                           Great Barrington, MA    

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