After 25 years in a downtown Naples location, The Friendship Health Clinic Collier has moved to a new location, 2171 Pine Ridge Rd. Suite F in Naples. The volunteer-driven organization provides people age 50+ with quality health and dental services, and medication assistance.
“This move was an important one,” said Dr. Edward Banaszak, medical director and volunteer physician. “We needed new space to meet the growing need and to offer a safe working environment for our staff and volunteers. Our old building was just that – old. The floors were becoming weak, the rainy season put a strain on the patched roof and remodeling was an alternative we just couldn’t afford right now.”
Between 2008 and 2009, the Friendship Health Clinic experienced a 38 percent increase in the number of unduplicated patients. Patient visits, both medical and dental, rose in one year by 25 percent. The 2010 patient counts and visits are pacing to surpass the 2009 figures by at least another ten percent.
“These numbers speak volumes about the effect of the economic downturn and the resulting need in Collier County,” said Betty Gamel, director for the Friendship Health Clinic. “It’s always been our goal to make quality health and dental care accessible for older adults in our community. Thanks to the generosity of our volunteers representing many specialties, we continue to be able to meet the need.”
“The continuing increase in demand keeps us busy,” said volunteer and board member, Dr. Joe Sullivan, who practiced family medicine in Naples for more than 42 years. “It’s a common misconception that Naples is populated by nothing but wealthy people. We see firsthand, that’s certainly not the case. According to studies by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, more than 20 percent of the population over the age of 60 in Collier County are living at or below federal poverty levels, many in poor health and without adequate health insurance. We are here to serve this population.”
The Friendship Health Clinic is open Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on holidays. The clinic is not open evenings and weekends and does not treat emergencies. Potential patients may call 239.566.7425 for an appointment.
The Friendship Health Clinic Collier is staffed by highly qualified and credentialed volunteer physicians and dentists, supported by volunteer nurses, secretarial and support personnel. Caring for patients and practicing for the sheer love of medicine is their motivation. They work in cooperation with the Collier County Health Department to provide health and dental care through more than 5,000 patient visits.
The clinic providesprimary care, general physical examinations, including EKGs; specialty care; referrals for lab work and X-rays at other local facilities; general dental services; medication assistance; referrals to other local physicians if needed; monitoring of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and health screenings .
The Friendship Health Clinic Collier is a Medicare provider and uses a sliding fee scale for the uninsured. Patient incomes must meet low-income guidelines. A brief telephone call (239.566.7425) in advance is required to confirm eligibility.
The Friendship Health Clinic Collier was established in 1985, and was formerly housed at 811 7th Ave. South in Naples. It is part of Senior Friendship Centers network of services in Southwest Florida. They are funded through patient sliding scale fees, donations and grants. If you are interested in supporting this mission either as a volunteer or with a donation, please contact: Betty Gamel at 239.566.7425.