Clackamas County employees recently rallied support for a struggling nonprofit where free medical care is provided by volunteers and a handful of staff. Clackamas County’s Mental Health Clinic (MHC) and Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) have different missions but are connected by their passion for access to care. Both clinics opened in 2012 and serve many of the same patients. 

“CVIM helps so many of our clients without insurance coverage,” said Jeffrey Anderson, MHC’s crisis program supervisor, “and we wanted to recognize the generosity and kindness of their providers and volunteers.”

MHC provides mental health crisis support, without regard to ability to pay, to people who often are at the lowest point in their lives. CVIM is a free health clinic serving uninsured and underinsured adults who often have had lifetimes of inadequate medical care.

While the county-operated clinic is well-maintained and able to provide living wages to its staff, CVIM operates out of an increasingly dilapidated converted warehouse and is funded through donations. Like its patients, CVIM worries about making the rent each month.

MHC sends clients who don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford insurance to CVIM for medical care and CVIM refers patients in mental health crisis to the MHC.

Connections between the clinics recently went deeper as MHC staff organized a chili contest followed by a pie contest and a cookie contest to raise over $500 collectively. Last week they presented their holiday contest proceeds to CVIM Executive Director Martha Spiers.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Spiers said. “I was overwhelmed. This will help so many of our patients.”