For nearly 30 years, the Wesley Health Center in Connellsville has provided free health care to anyone who walks through its doors.
The center, a mission of The Wesley United Methodist Church, was founded in 1993 by Reverend Eugene Ankeny and parishioner Dr. J. Miller Oppy. Initially, the center provided free primary health care to individuals and families without health insurance.
Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, officials at the center shifted from providing free care to people without health insurance to providing care to everyone, whether insured or uninsured.
“If someone has insurance but can’t afford the deductible, they’re welcome to come to Wesley as well,” said Marilyn Weaver, executive director of the Wesley Health Center. “There is no charge for anyone who comes.”
Weaver said services offered at the center include primary care, retinal screenings and oral care.
With the exception of two part-time paid staff, the center runs on the volunteer work of doctors on the board and operates solely on donations from local businesses, the Marilyn Keefer Foundation and fundraising events. local funds like the Bud Murphy Memorial Golf. Exit.
“It’s also the small donations that keep the doors open,” Weaver said, adding that a jar is available in the waiting room where visitors or patients can drop in a few coins or dollars during their stay. “It makes them feel good like they’re doing something about the care there.”
In addition to donations, Weaver said the health center also needs word of mouth to let people know they’re there to help.
While the center is based in Fayette County, Weaver said he has treated patients from as far away as Somerset and Allegheny counties. Still, she says, there are people who have lived in Connellsville all their lives who have never run the center.
“Let it be known that the Wesley Health Center exists and is open to everyone and their families,” Weaver said. “Donations and spreading the word are what we need.”
Weaver said the center is currently distributing flu shots. She also noted that the center does not dispense any drugs or narcotics, nor does it perform tests for COVID-19.
“We try to help those who slip through the cracks,” Weaver said.