A Message from the Executive Director:
THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WAYS YOU CARE
In this season of gratitute, there's no better way to celebrate than by sharing our thanks with you.
When you or a family member is ill, injured or in need of dental care, where do you turn? If you are like most in our community, you go to your regular family physician, dentist or local hospital. Why? Most likely you have a long-term relationship with your provider, someone who knows you and trusts that you or your insurance company will cover the cost. You also know that you will be treated professionally and with respect by dedicated, competent health and dental professionals in a warm, caring environment.
Unlike most of us, however, the uninsured and underinsured in our community would have nowhere to turn for their health and dental
care needs without the Albrecht Free Clinic. Your contributions have given your neighbors— the uninsured and underinsured residents of Washington County living at 200% or below the
federal poverty level—a place to turn when they are ill, injured and need medical and/or dental care. They too want to be treated with respect, like real people, by dedicated and compassionate health and dental professionals in the same warm and caring environment. Because of you and your generous contributions, the Albrecht Free Clinic and its dedicated volunteers have served the Washington County community for over 22 years, allowing us to provide hope, healing and recovery. Thank you for your partnership!
We are so grateful to you for helping support our committed team of staff and volunteers. You are helping us touch the lives of thousands who are facing an urgent need or chronic disease, or are simply seeking to maintain overall health and quality of life. Everyone who works to serve the mission of the Albrecht Free Clinic joins me in thanking you for your generous partnership and support. Your donation is helping to make our community healthier. Right here. Right now.
Ruth E. Henkle, Executive Director
A Note from our Medical Director
As the needs of our community have changed, so have we by serving as a member of the Treatment and Alternatives Diversion (T.A.D.) program.
How important does Dr. Robert Gibson think Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) is to stemming the opioid-abuse
crisis in Washington County? So important that even though he will be retiring from the West Bend Clinic in June,
2019, he will spend part of his retirement volunteering with this all-important program in an effort to help those
touched by this pervasive and pernicious epidemic.
"For patients without insurance who can't afford a monthly Vivitrol injection that costs up to $1,000, the Albrecht
Free Clinic has been able to help,'' Dr. Gibson said. "AFC has collaborated with Elevate (elevateyou.org) and the Washington County judicial system to tackle this problem in our community. We are not an opiate-abuse clinic, but we do want to help those who have no place else to go for treatment. Elevate has taken the lead, and we are glad to be able to help them address this desperate need.” Elevate and the judicial system identify individuals who need MAT to avoid incarceration. The Albrecht Free Clinic provides initial screenings and follow-up for those
who cannot obtain adequate coverage through private insurance or Medicaid. Elevate provides psycho-social
counseling and monitoring.
"Twenty-two years ago, we opened an acute care clinic. Now the Albrecht Free Clinic provides care for acute and chronic medical and dental issues for uninsured and underinsured patients. We screen all patients for mental health issues and try to provide appropriate referrals with financial help where needed. Our MAT program is another example of how the Albrecht Free Clinic is reaching out to help where help is needed most!"
A Note from our Dental Director
Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a compliment or the smallest act of
caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
A beautiful smile is priceless—a sparkling sign of confidence, good health and happiness. But that does
not mean it's free. In 2018, the dental clinic at the Albrecht Free Clinic spent $3,086.38 on just the lab fees to fit six patients with partials and dentures. Currently, there are 28 patients on the waiting list for dental care with estimated lab fees of $32,400.
As one of the dentists providing these treatments, Dr. Thomas Albiero thinks it will be money well spent. "Since we started seeing dental patients two and a half years ago, we have relieved pain, cleaned and filled savable teeth, and removed teeth that could not be restored,'' Dr. Albiero said. "Recently, we have been replacing missing teeth for some patients, which is giving them back good chewing function and a normal smile. This boosts their self-image and self-esteem, and helps them lead a more normal life.''
As a free clinic staffed by volunteers, the Albrecht Free Clinic focuses on treating pain and infection first, and then does basic restorative procedures and, when possible, tooth replacement, especially in the esthetic zone. "Once we get the mouth healthy again, we focus on restoring properly functioning dentition, which enables individuals to chew and digest their food properly,'' Dr. Albiero explained.
In Dr. Albiero’s experience, healthier patients are happier patients. "We love to see patients smiling again and having the confidence to attain or keep gainful employment.''
The Albrecht Free Clinic is fortunate to have one pediatric dentist, who,between January and October 2018 has seen 49 children ranging in age from 2–13, and provided 322 procedures, totaling $26,917 in care.
THANKS TO AFC, CHRYSTAL HAS HOPE
For the first time in many, many years, there's some sunshine on her path to recovery, and for that the mother of five thanks the compassionate medical and dental staff at AFC.
"The Albrecht Free Clinic staff and volunteers never treated me like scum,'' she said, showing off her brand new smile. "They were always very supportive and proud of me."
Chrystal, whose children are 18, 15, 13, 11 and 7, shared her story to help others who might find themselves struggling like she did.
"If I can save one person, it will be worth it,'' she said.
Chrystal’s adult life started normally enough as a stay-at-home mom. Like too many others, she was knocked off the rails by drugs, beginning with legal pain killers, progressing to street drugs and ultimately a heroin addiction. Her husband, who began with a good job and who tried to be supportive, also became entangled in the downward spiral of addiction. Depression brought on by the loss of two children late in pregnancy was a triggering and contributing factor. Their struggle to free themselves from the nightmare was for a time successful, but along the way all their children were taken away and during a relapse, she lost her husband to an overdose. Descending even lower, Chrystal got into trouble with the law. With her children being raised by her parents,
Chrystal was sent to a private, religious-sponsored, inpatient treatment facility in the Chicago area for an entire year. She has been sober for the last three years.
Still, she needed help. She has a job, but her employer does not offer health insurance. She makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid, yet not enough to be able to afford health insurance. When she got sick, someone suggested she google free clinics, which brought her to the Albrecht Free Clinic. While seeing a doctor, she noticed signs for the dental clinic. She had lost the majority of her teeth because of her drug use.
The visits to the clinic have changed her life. Now she's healthy and has a brand new set of teeth. She started classes at Moraine Park Technical College. Even more important, she is a part of her children’s lives as they continue to live with her parents. After years of pain, there is healing taking place in Chrystal's life, and the Albrecht Free Clinic is responsible for much of it.
"They are doing their part to help those struggling with addictions by taking a proactive stand instead of ignoring the problem,'' Chrystal says. And she should know.
THE NEEDS GO ON— HELP US CONTINUE THE CARING
- Your contribution will help us continue to save and sustain lives and offer hope to those in need.
- You have our heartfelt gratitude and your investment in our patients will pay dividends for a lifetime.
Volunteers are our lifeblood. Please join us in thanking them, the hand of our caring efforts.
Medical volunteers are from Aurora Health Care and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Community Health Navigator (Funded by Froedtert)
Behavioral Health Screening
Offsite Vouchered Services:
Labs & X-rays (In-kind - Aurora & Froedtert)
Physical Therapy (In-kind - Aurora) Counseling (Aurora Better Together Fund)
(Preventative & Restorative)
Oral Health Education
Exams & X-rays
White and Silver Filling
(Provided with a Voucher)