What Health Looks Like in the Walla Walla Valley:
Access to Health Care:
Nintey-four percent of children and teens have access to health care in the Walla Walla Valley. However, this number drops to 77% for adults. And of those 77% that do have access to health insurance, most of them have insurance through employer-sponsored insurance. Ninety-six percent of individuals in the Walla Walla County live in an area where there is a shortage of health professionals. Uninsured individuals are twice as likely to delay or forgo the care that they need as compared to those who are insured. "An increase in health care coverage amongst children and adults in Walla Walla is likely to reduce both health problems and health-related costs significantly" (Walla Walla County Health Report 2014). Additionally, only 65% of adults received dental care in 2014.
Many diagnosable mental health disorders are treatable with the right care and follow-up. In Walla Walla County, 11% of adults were considered to have poor mental health. At SOS Health Services, depression and anxiety are common diagnoses for many patients. In the Walla Walla County, the 7th leading cause of death is suicide. Part of the problem associated with mental health in Walla Walla could be the lack of psychiatric service providers.
*Above statistics provided by Walla Walla County Health Report 2014
Click Below for SOS 2014 Demographics:
Why We Need Your Help:
At SOS Health Services, we believe that health should be a human right and therefore no one should be denied access due to location, income, citizenship status, etc. Some people may wonder why the Walla Walla Valley still needs a free clinic now that America has adopted the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) that expands access to health care. While it is true that the ACA is helping millions of Americans receive the health coverage that they need, there will still be around 23 million uninsured individuals in 2019. Even with the ACA there will still be individuals who feel that they cannot afford health insurance or don't understand how new insurance plans work that are not supplied through the government or employers. Some individuals may be insured through Medicaid or their own private insurance but may not have enough insurance to fully cover themselves including blood tests and GYN exams for women. One of the services that SOS Health Services offers is a health care navigator to work with individuals to help get the cheapest healthcare either through Medicaid or private insurance. Finally, SOS Health Services encourages patients to get an annual exam (including a GYN exams for women) as a form of preventative care rather than waiting until individual become sick or hurt.
The biggest age group of under-insured individuals is typically those ranging from 18-34 years of age who are likely to have smaller incomes or not have a job where health insurance is covered by an employer. This group alone makes up nearly half of the people who are uninsured in Washington state. The ACA now allows individuals to stay on their parents' healthcare coverage plan until they are 26. However, if parents do not have coverage, often neither do their children. Twenty-nine percent of SOS patients are between 20 and 37 years old. (See above for more information on demographics of SOS patients).
What's Your Impact?
A donation of $35 will pay for 1 person to have an annual exam. A donation $500 will allow us to purchase medications for a month. In 2012, SOS Health Services saved the State of Washington around $28,000. We had about 1,072 patient visits in 2014.
The SOS clinic is one of an estimated 1,500 free health clinics in the US and it is entirely volunteer-operated. In 2014, our volunteers gave 2,756 hours of their time. It is our future goal to be able to hire a permanent ARNP (nurse-practitioner) and RN rather than rely entirely upon volunteers. Our next big goal is to convert all of our patient records from a paper to a digital system (called Electronic Medical Records). This will allow us to keep track of patients more accurately, track their progress over time, monitor them in accordance with normal parameters, and also waste less paper! We are currently fundraising to buy the hardware and software that we need to implement this system into our practice.