MERCI Clinic to remain OPEN, in need of funding

With rumors running rampant through our community about our wonderful Clinic closing its doors, I want to set the record straight. We are NOT closing our doors, but we ARE facing difficult decisions. For TWENTY years, we have been providing quality health care to those in need. Whether it is annual medical visits, assistance with chronic illnesses or providing prescriptions, MERCI Clinic has been willing and able to help. Due to an increase in need as well as a rise in the cost of basic medical supplies and generic prescriptions, we are in critical need of additional funding.

MERCI Clinic relies on donations from not only grants and foundations, but from individuals like you and me. We have been able to provide quality services on what many would consider a shoestring annual budget of $550,000. All, but one, of our providers are volunteers, so funding helps cover prescriptions, medical supplies, etc. We are proud to offer services to over 2,000 people each year who are in need of quality care for a variety of health issues.

Without care from our Clinic, people would be without much needed medical care as well as life-saving medicine. With no other options, they would be forced to seek care in the emergency room or to go without. Many can only afford to buy either food for their family or insulin for their diabetes. This should not have to be a choice; they should be able to buy both food AND medicine.

Many adults with incomes below 200% of the poverty level fall into a gap of care; their incomes are too high to get MEDICAID and too low to qualify for private health coverage. The doctors, nurses, lab techs, pharmacists and office staff who volunteer at MERCI Clinic fill this gap.

For each dollar donated to MERCI Clinic, we provide $8.25 worth of health care services to a patient. It is our goal to improve the current health status of our community. This will get active adults back to work, where they can enjoy a more productive life. Quality health care should not be a privilege for some; it should be accessible to all.

Thank you for supporting MERCI Clinic; your donation will help save lives. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our website at or mail donation to MERCI Clinic, 1315 Tatum Drive, New Bern, NC 28560.


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Priscilla Miller

MERCI Clinic to host Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Before Hours


MERCI Clinic will host the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Before Hours on April 26th at 7:30am.

Join us as we welcome Chamber members and learn more about the wonderful opportunities at MERCI Clinic for volunteers, donors and patients! Celebrating 20 years of providing quality health care to those in need!

Feeling Good – Patient Success Story “Richard”

The MERCI Clinic patients want to tell their story– stories of how the clinic helps them get through the day. Without care from the clinic, they would be without much needed medical and dental care– and life-saving medicine. With no other options, they would be forced to seek care in the emergency room or– just go without. Many can only afford to buy either food for their family or insulin for their diabetes.

Richard has been a MERCI patient for six years. As an electrician, he could not afford private health insurance and thank goodness, his former girlfriend told him about the clinic. Richard is 62 years old; he has high blood pressure and suffered a stroke. He has been unable to work since the stroke and has finally passed through the disability benefit documentation/waiting period. He depends on medications from MERCI, the cost totaling much more per month than he could handle if he had to pay out of pocket! Richard will be moving back to West VA in the near future- he is hoping that his new community has a facility like the MERCI Clinic.

Your donations make BIG differences in the lives of so many! No matter how big or small, we make sure to maximize every dollar. In fact, for every dollar donated, we provide $8.25 worth of quality health care for those in need. Please consider making a donation today; it could help save a life!


Tryon Civitans host Flapjack Fundraiser to benefit non-profits

The Tryon Civitans will be hosting a Flapjack Fundraiser Breakfast on Saturday, February 27, from 7:30 – 10am at the River Bend Golf & Country Club in River Bend.

Tickets are $7 for the delicious pancake and sausage breakfast and can be purchased at The UPS Store at 1822 S. Glenburnie Road, Mitchell Hardware or from any Tryon Civitan member. Walk-ins are also welcome. All proceeds benefit non-profits in our community, including MERCI Clinic! For more information, contact Mack Paul at 637-7500 or Kathi Whitfield at 229-5512.

Sometimes a Pill is not Needed

The Importance of Conversation

As a volunteer physician in Merci Clinic, I am allowed to spend as much time as needed with each patient. Unlike general private practice which requires 16 to 20 patients a day to reach my quota with insurance premiums, in this clinic setting there is usually ample time to work through a problem. The following is an illustration.

A middle aged lady allowed me into her examining room and displayed a worried and grim face. When I asked for her troubles, she revealed that over the past few months she has had a heavy chest and difficulty in breathing. “Some days it is pretty good, but on other days my chest feels very heavy.”

So we spent some time finding out her history. She had coronary artery disease about 18 months ago, and at catheterization, received a stent into the one partially obstructed coronary artery. She was given the appropriate medication for this and has faithfully kept up with her medicines. The heavy chest and difficult breathing seemed to be in some days all day, but not on others. It was not related to exercise or sudden changes in emotion.

After sifting through several ways of checking out her symptoms, I determined that the likely cause was not organic or structural. So my next question was for her a really important and illuminating one! “So what is on your mind a lot these days?” She burst into tears and I reached for the tissue box. It turns out that her youngest 21 year old daughter is pregnant and Mrs. Jones, who has raised all three children as a single parent, was very concerned that she “might not be able to see her granddaughter grow up.”

And then the conversation began to flow. She talked and talked. I was able to remember some advice from my days as a hospice doctor. I told her that right now I did not feel her symptoms were life-threatening. And I gave her three longer term options to provide important feelings for her granddaughter.

1) A hand written letter to her granddaughter telling her all about herself and her dreams for this new baby.
2) Snip a small amount of hair to be placed in a locket for her granddaughter to wear whenever needed. 
3) purchase a Raggedy Ann as a gift to remind her granddaughter who would be with her for the rest of her life.

At the end of the interview, Mrs. Jones got up and said “Now my chest is no longer so heavy and I can breathe much easier.”

Anonymous MD

December Volunteer of the Month

Every time a volunteer donates hours at the clinic, he/she is encouraged to place his/her name on a paper and put it into the “Star Jar” located near the volunteer log in book. At the first staff meeting of each month, a member of the staff draws a name from the jar, determining the VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH. (Once a name has been chosen, the jar is emptied, and a new month of possible winners begins.) This person’s name is featured on the white board near the back door, and the recipient is honored with a token of thanks that could be any of a variety of items from whimsical to practical to beautiful. One honoree received her gifts in a beach pail along with beach toys, flip flops and a gift card to her favorite, Starbucks. Another, because she had recently suffered an accident, was given gifts that would occupy her down time – an adult coloring book, a jigsaw puzzle, a book and a gift certificate to a local jewelers. The gifts are a small, but special way for the staff to say “thank you for your time. “

Recent beneficiaries have been Deb Krukowski (front check-in desk); Marge DeSantis (med window); Karen Gower (front check-in desk and now also in referral); Jane Schmidt (med window) and Sharon Thompson, better known as “Sharon T,” (a nurse who also has learned the technique of scanning records into the Electronic Health Record system).

The month of December honors Beth Gosnell, at the front check in window. Beth is a recent addition to the volunteer staff, but quickly learned the myriad “rules” of the front desk. Beth also helped out at the MERCI Clinic booth at the recent Health Fair for the Choice Neighborhood Initiative. Beth is a Master’s student in Art Therapy, hails from the Pittsburgh area, but has lived in many areas of the U.S., including Texas, so of course her favorite teams are from Pittsburgh (Steelers, Penguins) and Texas (Astros, Spurs). She lives with and cares for her father, loves to read, loves animals, especially Alaskan Malamutes and horses. Welcome and congratulations to Beth!

MERCI Clinic, Here to Serve

by Priscilla Miller, Executive Director

This year, 2016, is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of MERCI Clinic that provides primary medical care for adults from Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties who are of lesser income, without benefit of health insurance or are ineligible for Affordable Care coverage.

Throughout the years, MERCI Clinic has evolved from the one-two afternoon walk-in, first come, first served center. “I hope I can get in.” It now provides comprehensive care with an emphasis on the chronic illnesses of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and upper respiratory complications. Specialty clinics are offered for diabetes education, pulmonary care, well women care, orthopedics, behavioral health and dental care. >>READ MORE


Food & Wine Pairing at Cravin’ Wine

Open to all volunteers, staff and spouses!

Save the date for January 29th at Cravin’ Wine. This event has limited seating (max 26), so please let us know by January 15th if you are able to come. Cost is $25/person.

Contact Cilla Miller