From its birth in 1999 in the kitchen of Dr. Bill and Nancy Lascheid’s home to its own building and a $1 million-plus annual budget, the Neighborhood Health Clinic marks its 12th anniversary on April 12. It is a year highlighted by the round number of a dozen, the silk anniversary. Among the milestones noted by the clinic:
- A total of $12 million in donated services from clinic volunteers.
- 12,000 patients since the clinic opened.
- 12 specialty clinics.
The Lascheids sat down and outlined the idea for a neighborhood clinic on a legal pad. A one-hour meeting in the Lascheids’ living room was followed by another in February. With physicians, an attorney and an accountant on board and given specific assignments, the group had the clinic in operation on April 12th of that year.
The clinic’s first home was donated space in the now-demolished Grand Central Station commercial complex off Goodlette-Frank Road at U.S. 41 East, courtesy of then-owner NCH Healthcare System. After moving from one office to a bigger space, the clinic got the bad news: Grand Central Station was going to be sold.
So, the clinic looked for a new home. One generous contributor, who gave the Lascheids $50,000 in seed money to start the dispensary, came up with a $1 million donation for the new building – its current home on Goodlette-Frank Road.
“There was a time when he might have been a patient here,” says Nancy Lascheid, who 12 years later still puts on a lab coat to lend a hand and help patients on clinic days as she “works the floor.” Asked why all of the effort over the years, Lascheid states simply, “compassion.”
In the clinic’s early days, the clinic used handbills posted at laundromats, churches and similar locations were ways to reach out to the community for patients. Now they know. It is word-of-mouth,” Dr. Lascheid adds.
As for today, the base of working poor is expanding, according to Dr. Paul Jones, a physician in family practice in Naples and a member of the clinic’s founding committee and, along with his wife, nurse Susan Jones, a veteran of the living room conference that brought the clinic to life. “I see greater demand on the clinic,” says Dr. Jones.
With the ongoing support of more than 700 volunteers from doctors to nurses to dentists to dental hygienists to office help, the Neighborhood Health Clinic is able to deliver quality medical care to low income, working but uninsured adults of Collier County.