The resettlement director for Migrant and Refugee Services, Darko Mihajlovic, came into Sister Visitor, looked at one of the small offices and said, “If we could have this space it would be perfect, because we’re handicapped accessible,” Sister Michele said. “Plus we have a receptionist, so people can’t just walk in and wander.”
All of this happened at the end of August and by mid-October the clinic was open. Migrants and refugees have to have to a physical when they enter the country, so the clinic is seeing two to three people from that office each Friday, with the rest the clients of Sister Visitor, Sister Michele said.
Huggins is the associate director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Bellarmine University, and has volunteered with the Family Health Center in Louisville since 2004. He started doing testing at his parish, and eventually started a clinic at St. Martin de Porres Parish, an African-American parish on Louisville’s west side.
He began seeing many refugee patients, but transportation and translation issues were a major obstacle, so a new location for the clinic has been sought for two years, he said.
The clinic offers basic screenings for such needs as blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, Huggins said.
“They’re preventative things that low-income people can’t afford,” said Lucio Caruso, director of case management and family support services for Catholic Charities of Louisville.
“If we have people who come from the emergency room with a prescription that they can’t afford, Mike will be able to rewrite the prescription for something cheaper,” Sister Michele said. “If he has the medication, he can disburse it.” Sister Visitor is supported by Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital with a voucher system for non-narcotic medication.
Huggins said he will eventually begin seeing patients on Thursdays and Fridays. Sister Michele also hopes to get a physical therapist to work in the building.