To Timothy, the people he’s come to know at the Fort Thompson Community Health Center are more than medical providers, they’ve become friends who offer him a warm welcome and a place to feel safe when he needs one.
“The girls at Horizon are always good to me and treat me with respect,” he said.
Along with medical care, Horizon Health Care and the Horizon Health Foundation provide needed resources for him and his family.
Timothy was attacked and badly beaten last year. The injuries he sustained earned him a life flight to Sioux Falls. He survived brain surgery to fix the damage caused by the attack. He would have spent his time recuperating alone without assistance from the Horizon Health Foundation.
“The gas cards (foundation donors provided) helped my family be able to come see me,” Timothy said. “I have also used one to be able to get my medication, which I would have had to go without if I did not have the card.”
Horizon provider Diane Inch, MPA-C, is the only provider at the Fort Thompson clinic. She said the majority of her patients have no transportation, and no way to get off the reservation. Many are homeless or addicted.
The resources from the Foundation are very important, Inch said. Gas cards are given so patients can travel out of town to a specialty appointment or to pick up a prescription. The closest pharmacy is 30 miles from Fort Thompson.
“When you’re living dollar to dollar in your budget, getting that $10 to go get a prescription is huge,” Inch said. “Our patients are very appreciative of it. When a patient gets one, they’re really touched. Most of them are just like ‘wow, no one has ever given me something to go to an appointment or to go somewhere. It’s made a great, positive impact to allow us to be able to help them.”
The gas cards, help with transportation, and the clinic staff keep Timothy going, he said, and make his life worth living. Staff at the Fort Thompson CHC make him feel welcome. He can always go there for help, care and a sense of belonging.
“Sometimes they are all I have and the only place I have to go,” he said. “I really appreciate the clinic and the girls who work there.”
Timothy grew up in foster care in Ohio. His brother tracked him down 12 years ago and sent him a ticket to come home to the Crow Creek Reservation.
When he found Horizon Health Care in Fort Thompson, Timothy was looking for a medical organization that would see him as a person, not just another patient. He’s found that with Horizon and provider Diane Inch.
“She makes me feel like a real person, not just a patient,” Timothy said. “If the clinic was not here, I would be miserable.”
He says he would like to tell people to try out the clinic and they will be happy with what they find. He says the staff do everything they can to make their patients feel better.
“If I walked to the clinic tomorrow and it was closed, I do not know what I would do,” he said. “I would sit on the steps and be really down. I would not have anywhere else to go.”