(Michigan City, IN) - A federally assisted provider of everything from medical check-ups to filling cavities is in the battle to close the curtain on the pandemic.
Congressman Frank Mrvan (D) of Hammond was given a glimpse Tuesday of what’s happening at one of the HealthLinc clinics in his district. “It’s important work that needs to be done,” he said. Mrvan was given a close to one hour tour of the HealthLinc branch in Michigan City at 710 Franklin Street.
HealthLinc with 11 clinics in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph and Starke counties was formed in Valparaiso 25-years ago to serve people without insurance. The under insured were later added to the people eligible at HealthLinc for free or discounted medical, dental, eye and mental health care. The cost is based on income.
People earning too much to receive a discount are welcome to receive services. “We take anybody,” said Beth Wrobel, Chief Executive Officer for HealthLinc.
Wrobel said just over 30,000 people have received free COVID-19 vaccinations at all of the HealthLinc locations since the first doses arrived from the state on January 18. About 20-percent of the HealthLinc vaccinations have been given in Michigan City.
Wrobel said HealthLinc has also gone to places like shelters and farms to give vaccinations to the homeless and migrant workers to make sure as many people as possible are immunized.
The federal government later began sending doses to Healthlinc , which was the first organization in the state to receive vaccine directly from the nation’s capital. Wrobel said she invited Mrvan to take a tour to show him the good being done with the federal resources. “I always like to show our representatives what we’re doing with the trust and the money that’s been given to us, she said.
Mrvan briefly chatted with staff members in each of the departments. Dr. Praveen Singh, a pediatrician , told him he’s very hopeful all children will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in two months.
Currently, people 16 and over can be vaccinated in Indiana. “I think we’re doing pretty well. We’re on the right track,” Singh said.
Wrobel said supply of the vaccine has always kept up with demand but they did nearly run out in February when a snowstorm delayed the arrival of a new shipment. “We’ve never had to turn anyone away,” she said.
Mrvan urged everyone after receiving their vaccination to persuade others to follow suit. "If we want to get to the other side of the pandemic and get through this health crisis and get back to work and get our kids back to school and get back to normalcy then we have to vaccinate,” he said.