We’ve Moved!

Just in time for the cold and rainy seasons, White Bird has kindly donated their old CAHOOTS building at 509 E. 13th ave, on the corner of Ferry St. Our stay is temporary at this time, but for the next three months we will have dry, warm spaces to provide free care. We have lights and plumbing! How exciting!

We are extremely grateful to White Bird for the ability to keep our patients out of the rain. We are also excited for our newfound free time from tent drying, which we intend to use for other projects in the community so keep your eyes peeled for more Occupy Medical actions!

Our humble little building is located across from the Bijou Art Cinema and next door to High Priestess Tattoo and Piercing and we’re open every Sunday! Intake sign-up is from 11:45am-3:00pm.

Occupy Medical’s Annual Review 2015

Occupy Medical’s Annual Review 2015

Occupy Medical’s year included the recognition of our 501c3 status
. This has been a project that took much longer than originally expected for a variety of reasons. One of them was that the IRS changed its rules about the expected paperwork for organizations such as ours after our 1st draft was completed. Many hands went into the completion of this project and it is opening many doors for us financially. A big sigh of relief goes out now that we have attained this tax status.

Retreat/Training – April of 2015 held a big retreat and training opportunity for volunteers. We not only learned about HIPAA, deescalation techniques, harm reduction and OM’s history but we had a visioning segment that resulted in practical options for the future. We refined our mission statement and another job description as well as establishing official contact with the local SEIU reps. We look forward to holding another retreat/training next year.

November had another training and potluck for volunteers. This was held at a local neighborhood association building and offered a chance for attendees to share what brought them to OM before learning HIPAA basics from Dr. Bruce and OM history and structure from Sue.

We also joined Nonprofit Network at Donna R’s suggestion as they offer cost effective and valuable training which caters to organizations such as ours.

Other trainings in the community have been attended by OM volunteers in order to share this knowledge with the rest of the group. De-escalation techniques, for example, were taught to Ben and Ken of the Support Service team and they have done a fine job of sharing these principles with the team.

We forecast more trainings such as cultural sensitivity training and effective communication training along with updates of the traings mentioned above for 2016.

OM Teams – Currently, we have basic teams: intake, triage, prescribers, treatment, wound care, hospitality and now a combined team support/peacekeeping/translator team. Each team has at least one team lead. The combined team has 3 lead positions. These teams combined as their work interconnects fluidly during clinic. The requirements for each position are different but working together makes this team more efficient.

The treatment team took on another project: Rescue Packs under the guidance of treatment team member Dandy. The rescue packs consist of a bag of basic survival items such as toothbrushes, water bottles and nutritional supplies to be handed to unhoused “panhandlers”. The project was originally inspired by the death of an activist for the unhoused and veterans. It was clear that we needed to take an extra step during the week to keep our citizens set up with basic supplies. Originally put together to aid unhoused vets, this projects has broadened its reach.

Each team is working on their own protocols. Some have their approved version of protocols on our website for other agencies to use a template for patient driven care. More protocols are in process and we look forward to a finished copy in 2016.

Outreach – We have always strived to affirm healthy connections with other service organizations in our community. We believe that mutual support makes for a healthy community. Our work with St. Vincent de Paul, Hearts for Hospice, CALC, the Rotary Club, Egan Warming Center, Food not Bombs, and Burrito Brigade has resulted in more help for those we serve. This year we met with HIV Alliance to strengthen our bond. They have in turn, invited us to trainings and enjoyed sharing donations.

A new ally this year is Catholic Community Workers led by Brother Charlie. He and his crew serve breakfast to the hungry at the Park Blocks as we are setting up clinic which has resulted in toning down some behavioral issues stemming from malnutrition for the unhoused. We strive to make more allies in 2016.

Our members sent representatives to serve at a free clinic in cooperation with Centro Latino Americano this fall. This was a success and we look forward to extending this project with more volunteers from more teams in 2016.

Outreach is often achieved via speaking engagements, rallies, conferences and the media. To this end, both Sue and Ben have spoken at events and to the media on OM’s principles and concerns. Many members of OM have written op-eds and letters to the editor on topics relating to public health topics. Every month, we have at least one member of OM speak during the public comment section of city council (such as Crys, Lonnie, Terra, Donna R and Sue). We have attended and tabled at many conferences and rallies. Social media has been kind to us. Our website and Facebook group are active with new members seeking inclusion every week. We started a Facebook page at the advice of Connor and this is growing steadily. A feed from this page is included on our website. Twitter may be the next social media step for OM.

Bus Development – The bus has been getting regular maintenance work over the years and a few minor improvements but 2015 brought us a gift in the guise of Carrier RV Service. They offered to do the remodeling of the bus at cost for supplies and not charge us for the labor. The first improvement was installing much needed heat. The source is a propane heater system that solves several problems at once. This was the brain child of Scott, our hospitality volunteer. It was tried out this November and worked like a dream.

The future remodeling will include better shelving and room dividers.

Grants/Awards – This year started with a grant from Church of the Resurrection. We are looking to write more grants for paid staff and, ultimately, a brick and mortar.

December 10th, 2015 Occupy Medical is receiving the Humanitarian of the Year award by the city of Eugene’s Human Rights Commission.

Note: This review is by no means complete but serves as bare bones assessment of the year from the clinic manager’s perspective.

Occupy Medical Heads West

The Park Blocks at 8th and Oak will be a little lonelier this Sunday as Occupy Medical heads to Florence for a demonstration clinic on the coast. The weekend visit is sponsored by the Florence chapter of Healthcare for All Oregon. Once a year, Occupy Medical takes to the highways to share the message of healthcare for all to other Lane County citizens.

Occupy Medical is a group of dedicated health care professionals and support personnel, who believe health care is a basic human right that must be made accessible to everyone regardless of ability to pay, are coming to Florence, Sunday July 20, noon to 4 p.m. to offer free medical services to all who are in need. A staff of certified prescribers along with a support team of intake, triage, treatment, wound care, mental health workers and peacekeepers comprise the team of volunteers.

The famous Eugene based Occupy Medical bus will be setting up in the St. Vincent De Paul parking lot with the expressed goal of demonstrating the free clinic approach in various communities around Lane county. Their motto is: If need help – you get help’.

“Showing how our current, for-profit system is failing to provide care for all citizens should be a wake-up call for all of us.” says Stuart Henderson. ”The industrialized countries of the world have long ago figured out the many advantages of systems that leave no one behind.”

The clinic team typically serves between 40 to 60 patients in Eugene during their 4 hour Sunday stint. In the process it’s estimated that they save the county $10,000 per week. Occupy Medical will return to its usual spot the following Sunday, July 27th.

Anyone interested in learning about Healthcare for All Oregon’s push to build a statewide movement to bring publicly funded health care to Oregon is invited to stop by, visit www.hcao.org, or call Stuart Henderson at 541 997-2997

Save Whoville

On Thursday, January 16th, The Eugene Police Department (EPD) announced that Whoville, located on the corner of Broadway and Hilyard, would be served with an eviction notice the following morning. The city of Eugene released a statement to the Register Guard that the evicted parties could either go to the approved rest-stop at Roosevelt and Garfield which is already at maximum capacity or that they could potentially receive assistance from local services to transition into safe and legal shelter; waiting lists are already frustratingly long. The mention of the city-approved Rest Stop has since been redacted.

The citizens of Whoville have courageously created a safety net for many who otherwise seek dubious refuge in various corners of the city. At Whoville they share supplies, food, clean water, bathrooms and a hand-washing station. The occupants check in on each other frequently as they depend on each other for physical and mental support.

Occupy Medical offers preventative treatment for many issues that commonly afflict Un-housed citizens during wintertime, including but not limited to: Influenza, H1N1, Bronchitis, Pneumonia/Atypical Pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infections, and an array of skin conditions such as Trench Foot and Frostbite. Dispersing this segment of our community puts OM out of their reach and at further risk for illness. By forcing Whoville to close without other viable shelter, the mental and physical well-being of these people are put at further risk. Under these circumstances, it is less likely that they will or can access the health care they need.

Life on the streets is dangerous. Sleep deprivation chips away at the body and the mind. Separating Eugene’s Whoville citizens from access to adequate healthcare is a serious issue. Separating Eugene’s Whoville citizens from a bathroom is a serious contamination issue for the entire community. Roughly 40-50 people stay at Whoville. That’s about 1500 pounds of fecal matter a month that mayno longer be disposed of in a sanitary manner, as stated by Alley Valkyrie.

We at Occupy Medical, feel compelled to remind you that two short weeks ago Mayor Piercy graciously bestowed an award of service upon OM, recognizing the importance of “…significant efforts to address the health needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents,” and we do implore you, City of Eugene and Eugene Police Department to:

-Cease and rescind the eviction.

-Find secure, safe, and legal shelter for these individuals.

-Make significant efforts to address the health needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents.

The eviction of Whoville will only increase the risk of exposure and transmission of illnesses that have been otherwise successfully prevented or treated with our partnership. We stand by our belief that health care is a human right and we care about the people in this community dearly. The removal and dispersal of the people of Whoville will have negative effects on us all.

Please, we implore you, don’t exile these people back to the shadows.

Respectfully

The Volunteers of Occupy Medical