All-volunteer medical team treats city's poor at clinic

The pharmacy at the Sister Maura Brannick CSC Health Center (William E. Odell)

In South Bend, Ind., volunteers and staff at the Sister Maura Brannick CSC Health Center are hoping that this winter won't be as vicious as last year's. In 2013-14, record snowfalls and 19 days of zero or subzero temperatures were particularly rough on clinic patients.

"In the winter, many of our patients have no transportation other than the bus or their own two feet," explained Cathy Day, a nurse and supervisor of clinical services. Day makes sure that everything is ready for patients who are seen daily by an all-volunteer team of medical professionals. Patients have appointments. This is not a drop-in clinic.

Since its founding on South Bend's west side in 1986 by a Holy Cross nun who was also a nurse, this clinic has had a unique patient population, Day says. It serves only those who have nowhere else to go. Patient eligibility at the Brannick clinic means that the person has no Medicare, Medicaid or medical insurance of any kind.

Currently, the clinic follows about 1,320 adults, 18 to 65 years of age. Because children born in the U.S. generally qualify for Medicaid, Day says, the Brannick Health Center does not usually see them.

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