A Decade Of Helping and Healing

Special to the Atlantic News
Part I

Atlantic News , March 23, 30 & April 6, 13, 20, 27, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News .]

WE CARE — The staff at the Hampton Free Medical Clinic is celebrating a decade of providing care to winter residents at Hampton Beach. Making all this medical magic happen season after season are (from left) Grace Maxfield, Michelle Kingsley, Dr. Jay Kaminski, Sandy Lupoli, Steve Bischof, and Betty Krisco.
[Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]

HAMPTON BEACH — The Hampton Free Medical Clinic is in its 10th year of serving the Seacoast area. It is a small, “grassroots” medical facility which has become the only doctor’s office for many of the winter residents of Hampton Beach. After the tourist season is over, many families with low income move into the motels at Hampton Beach. During the summer season, some of these families live in neighboring campgrounds.

The clinic is open the first and third Tuesday of each month from 6-8 p.m., September through May. Services include the care of acute medical conditions, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, PAP smears, providing vouchers for free mammograms and assisting clients in signing up for low income health insurance. It is staffed by volunteers and operated by donations.

This unique medical facility was established by Dr. John Kaminski Jr., with the help of Abby Cooper, a former social worker at Hampton Academy (A Middle School) and a founding member of the Hampton Community Issues Coalition (HCIC).

Dr. Kaminski, who prefers to be called “Jay,” wanted to be sure that low income families of Hampton had access to medical care. Mrs. Cooper was more than willing to help in any way she could.

The purpose of HCIC is to offer programs to Hampton families, such as family recreation, parenting skills, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, physical neglect counseling and transportation. Helping to run a free medical clinic was a great addition to the HCIC programs.

Abby obtained a small office (approximately 9’x9′) at 37 Ashworth Avenue on Hampton Beach through the generosity of Preston Real Estate. The office adjoined a laundromat that worked well as a waiting room. Jay now had a place from which to operate his clinic.

Open Doors

Special to the Atlantic News

Part II

Atlantic News , Friday, March 30, 2007

OPEN DOORS — The offices at the Hampton Free Medical Clinic.
[ Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]

(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles about the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, which has been in operation for 10 years.)

In January of 1998, the Hampton Free Medical Clinic opened its doors. At the beginning, it was opened the first Tuesday of each month from 6-8 p.m.

The original volunteer staff included Dr. Kaminski, Abby Cooper, Kim Hopkins (a social worker student from UNH), Dee Gough, RN (school nurse at Hampton Academy Junior High School at the time), and Greg Grinchereau, RN (administrator for the adult medical day care at the Rockingham County Nursing Home).

The medical staff brought with them what they had in the way of equipment: Blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and stethoscopes. The social workers brought literature on low cost health care and health insurance, as well as information on how to receive free or inexpensive food, clothing, shelter, and transportation.

The office space had a desk, a few folding chairs and, soon after it opened, an antique exam tab le which was acquired by Grinchereau.

An account had been established at Brooks Pharmacy in Hampton by the First Congregational church. This made it possible for people who were unable to pay for their own medicine could go and have their prescriptions filled. Years later this account was transferred over to the clinic. Most of the monetary donations that the Hampton Free Medical Clinic receives goes into this account.

In April of 1998, Sandra Lupoli, RN came to the clinic as a volunteer. On her first night, she was asked — and accepted — to serve in the position of coordinator. Lupoli took on the job of creating a medical facility for the Seacoast area residents who could not afford to visit a doctor and/or were unable to get to a doctor due to lack of transportation.

Sandy started by making up and distributing flyers. She then started to ask the Seacoast community for help, and was overwhelmed with the response.

The Portsmouth Regional Hospital filled her car trunk full of basic doctor office equipment and supplies, from Band-aids and an otoscope to disposable gowns. Exeter Hospital donated office chairs, a storage cabinet, utility cart and a more modern exam table with storage. They have continued to supply the clinic with medical supplies.

For the first several years, the clinic area had no heat, other than what would come through the door of the laundromat. When Sandy went to Aubuchon’s Hardware to ask the manager for a donation of a space heater, the cashier (Scott Serenicz) took money out of his own pocket and purchased the heater.

Craig Kelleher, DVM, donated sundry jars. Rite Aid Pharmacy gave the clinic a file cabinet. Hoyt’s donated a second desk and Weight Watchers of Maine provided a full size doctor’s scale. Sandy’s hairdresser gave her a large set of drapes, which sandy made into several smaller curtains to provide privacy from the foot and car traffic.

Within a year, the office space at 37 Ashworth Avenue was transformed into a doctor’s office.


Special to the Atlantic News

Part III

Atlantic News , Friday, April 6, 2007

SIDE BY SIDE — The Hampton Free Medical Clinic operates next door to the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen on Ashworth Avenue at Hampton Beach.
[ Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]

(Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles about the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, which has been in operation for 10 years.)

Dr. Jay Kaminski and Sandy Lupoli, RN, were voted Citizens of the Year by the Hampton Rotary in 1999. They received a check for $1000, part of which went to the purchase of a fireproof file cabinet. The same year, Path Lab (now Lab Corp) of Portsmouth provided phlebotomy training, lab supplies and processed all lab tests free of charge. Lab Corp continues to provide supplies and services to the clinic.

In 2000, the Hampton Free Medical Clinic became one of the many medical facilities to offer services through the Breast/Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP). This has enabled the clinic to provide free PAP smears and mammograms, as well as follow-up care. The clinic receives money from this program for each test performed to facilitate the paperwork involved. This money in turn goes toward medicine or needed supplies.

In May of 2001, Dr. Kaminski was the recipient of the Jefferson Award given by the American Institute for Public Service. Fifty to 60 people were nominated in the state of New Hampshire. Jay went to Washington, DC where he received recognition from members of the US Senate and US Supreme Court. He also accepted a $100 check for the clinic.

Since September of 2002, Exeter Hospital has been sending its medical van to 37 Ashworth Avenue on clinic nights. The van has two examination rooms as well as a small office space with a blood drawing station and bathroom. During clinic hours the doctors use the van to see clients and the nurses and other staff members work in the office and adjoining room. The extra space has been a great help.

In 2003, Sea Care Health Services of Exeter started sending representatives to the clinic. Sea Care is an organization that connects eligible clients with a primary care physician and other health care providers for a minimal charge. In addition, with Visiting Nurses Association in North Hampton started supplying the Hampton Free Medical Clinic with free flu vaccines.

In the fall of 2004, the Maytag laundromat was transformed into a soup kitchen. At that time the clinic was set up with heat. The soup kitchen is run by St. Vincent de Paul, a group from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church in Hampton. Several churches and organizations take turns preparing and serving meals Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. mid-October through mid-May.

Since opening, the clinic has been very busy. People have come to dinner, see the clinic in operation, and sign in for various reasons.

Meet the Volunteers

Special to the Atlantic News

Part IV

Atlantic News , Friday, April 13, 2007

DEDICATED — The Hampton Free Medical Clinic has been running successfully at Hampton Beach for the last 10 years thanks to the efforts of a dedicated volunteer staff, including Aldene Saucier and Dr. James Bloomer (pictured).
[ Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]

(Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles about the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, which has been in operation for 10 years.)

HAMPTON — The year 2005 was a big year for the Hampton Free Medical Clinic. In February, the clinic became its own official non-profit organization. This was due to the great efforts of volunteers Michelle Kingsley, who spent many hours filling out paperwork, and Attorney Michael McCarthy, who filed the necessary papers with the state of New Hampshire.

Since the beginning of the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, there has been an essential group of volunteers that have come to every clinic, with few exceptions. The clinic could not operate without the following people: Jay Kaminski, MD; Sandy Lupoli, RN; Michelle Kingsley, MSW; Aldene Saucier; Betty Krisko, RN; Steven Bischof; and Grace Maxfield.

Dr. Kaminski was born in Saugus, Massachusetts. As a 19-year-old sophomore at Boston University, he went to Kenya where he did missionary work teaching mathematics and physics at the high school level. He continues his missionary work from 1975 to 1977. He graduated from Boston University with a BA in Biology and a minor in Philosophy. He earned his medical degree from Tufts University, with a specialty in Family Practice, followed by a three-year residency. Dr. Kaminski established his practice at 23 Stickney Terrace in Hampton in 1986.

Sandy Lupoli, a 31-year resident of Hampton, graduated from Lasell Junior College in 1972 with an associates degree in nursing. She has spent most of her nursing career providing one-on-one care to geriatric and pediatric patients. Sandy has been employed by Interim Healthcare of Portsmouth and by private families, and has worked at Edgewood Centre in Portsmouth on and off for 30 years. At the clinic she is treasurer, administrator, and case manager for the BCCP.

Michelle Kingsley joined the clinic in the fall of 1998 as a social worker. She has gone out of her way on numerous occasions, after clinic hours, to bring a client necessary food or medicine. She graduated from the University of New England with a Masters degree in Social Work. For three years, Michelle was the director of Information and Referrals of Greater Nashua. She was also a staff member to the Community Council in Nashua. Michelle presently holds the position of the Welfare Officer in Hampton. During her early years at the clinic she developed a computer program which has enabled the clinic’s basic information to be entered following HIPPA regulations.

Aldene Saucier became an intricate part of the clinic in 2000. She graduated from the University of Maine with an Associates degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science. She is a care manager for Crotched Mountain Community Care. On clinic nights she always came early to help set up, but her main duties were data entry and keeping the records for the Brooks Pharmacy account. Aldene and her husband, Matt, created a computer program to keep track of the prescriptions filled at Brook’s Pharmacy. She stepped down from her position in 2006 due to an increase in work and family obligations.

Betty Krisko has been the main nurse at the clinic since 2000. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, with her Bachelors degree in nursing. For seven years, Betty worked as a critical care registered nurse in Florida. At present, she works for the Rockingham Visiting Nurses of Exeter, where she has been employed for the past nine years. Her skills in phlebotomy and nursing have been a tremendous help. She sees clients before the doctor, taking vital signs and a brief medical history.

Meet the Volunteers

Special to the Atlantic News

Part V

Atlantic News , Friday, April 20, 2007

(Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of articles about the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, which has been in operation for 10 years.)

Since the beginning of the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, there has been an essential group of volunteers that have come to every clinic, with few exceptions. The clinic could not operate without its volunteer staff.

Steve Bischof is a certified medical representative of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. He has Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and marketing, and has worked for Pfizer since 1981. Mr. Bischof started his volunteer work at the clinic in 2002. He brings a variety of sample medications, organizes them into categories, and hands them to the doctors as they prescribe them. Like Aldene Saucier, he is always at the clinic in time to help set up. Steve made it possible for the clinic to receive a $1000 donation from the Pfizer Volunteer Program this past year, and he plans to apply for the same on an annual basis.

Grace Maxfield started volunteering at the suggestion of Dr. Kaminski. Her husband, Roger Maxfield (one of Dr. Kaminski’s patients) had passed away, and Grace needed something to keep herself busy and make herself feel useful. She was able to take over Aldene’s job of data entry, and she has been a wonderful addition to the staff. Her dedication to the clinic was shown this past Christmas when, in lieu of giving her immediate family gifts, and in memory of her late husband, she bought and donated a new laptop computer for the clinic. In addition to her volunteer work she is employed as a secretary for Dr. Calvin Wallingford, a local dentist.

Over the years, the Hampton Free Medical Clinic has had many volunteers, too many to name but all were generous and caring people. There were three exceptional Winnacunnet High School students who helped with filing and acted as greeters — Heidi Anderson, Eric Kulberg and Anna Burbanks. They all continued on with their education and have been successful.

Anna Hopt, an employee of Sea Care Health Services, did an exceptional job helping clients sign up for affordable health insurance. She is now working for the US Peace Corps in Bulgaria. Pam Glennon started volunteering this season as a greeter and has become a whiz at data entry.

If it were not for the many doctors and nurse practitioners involved, the clinic would not have been able to care for its many clients. Some of the following doctors have been volunteering since 1999: Ralph Falk, MD; Kathleen Kelly, MD; James Bloomer, MD; Jo Ellen Thomas, MD; Michael Pangan, MD: James Glennon, MD; Frank Dibble, MD; Joseph Mastromarino, MD; Mary Braun, MD; Mark Reeder, MD; Andrew Weeks, MD; Nancy Braese, DO; Kristin Vaughan, DO; Daniel Lynch, ARNP; Gina LaPage, ARNP; and Cynthia Wolz, ARNP.

Several dentists have cared for the clinic’s patients in their private offices for acute dental needs; they are Paul Silver, DMD; Peter Thomas, DMD; and Barton McGirl, DDS. Dr. Silver cared for clients starting in 2000 and continued until he returned to his main office in Raymond. Dr. Thomas heard about the clinic and offered his services. He has been working with these patients since 2002 and continues his services today.

Angels of Mercy

Special to the Atlantic News

Part VI

Atlantic News , Friday, April 27, 2007

BUSY PLACE — The waiting room at the Hampton Free Medical Clinic is a busy, bustling place on the two evenings per month it is open. [ Atlantic News Courtesy Photo]

(Editor’s Note: This is the sixth and final article in a series about the Hampton Free Medical Clinic, which has been in operation for 10 years.)

HAMPTON — Karen Raynes, a former writer for a Seacoast area newspaper, sat in the waiting room of the Hampton Free Medical Clinic in February of this year and spoke with several clients while they were waiting. The following are a few of their comments:

“I needed a physical in order to get the job. I don’t have the money to get the physical So it is a Catch-22 — no physical, no job. I am glad that I found out about the clinic.”

“These people are angels of mercy. They fill my empty cup so that I can feel healthy again, so that I can fill others’ cups and it goes on like that. They are God’s angels. They are making brownie points towards heaven.”

“I trust these people. They have been very helpful.”

“The people who work here really care.”

“I haven’t seen a doctor in years. I do not have insurance. I just want to know that I am OK.”

“Sometimes it’s a long wait, like tonight, but no one complains. We just wait our turn.”

“They don’t make you feel, just because it is free, that you are begging.”

A woman wanted to get a job in Newburyport, MA. She had been out of work for one and a half years. She has no insurance. She needed a physical to get her job, so she came to the clinic. She has high blood pressure and a thyroid condition.

With no extra money, she could pay the rent and eat but was unable to buy medications. The Hampton Free Medical Clinic was able to get her medications, and her blood pressure went down. After getting her physical she was able to get the job. Now she feels better about life and herself.

Even though the doctors at the clinic give out sample medications, there are many instances where different medicines are required and prescriptions are written. These are the prescriptions that are filled at Brooks Pharmacy. It is not unusual for these prescriptions to run over $200 on a clinic night. Monetary donations enable the clinic to pay for these prescriptions as well as buy necessary equipment.

The following are those private individuals, organizations and businesses that have donated $1000 or more as of January 2007, since the beginning of the Hampton Free Medical Clinic: Ann Haggart, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ristagno, Richard Glennon, Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc., Fuller Foundation, Inc., Hampton Rotary, Hampton United Methodist Church Golf Committee, Marston School, Pfizer Volunteer Program, and United Methodist Women. The clinic also received an anonymous check for $2000 in 2002.

In retrospect, the Hampton Free Medical Clinic started out with a small, minimally furnished office area and a handful of volunteers who were not able to do much more than take a patient’s temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure and recommend what to do. Today, the clinic is a lot like any other doctor’s office.

The ultimate goal of the Hampton Free Medical clinic would be for al of its patients to have healthcare insurance, and be able to visit the doctor of their choice. However, until that happens, the clinic will be there for anyone who needs its services.

The clinic is always grateful for donations which can be sent to Hampton Free Medical Clinic, PO Box 625, Hampton, NH 03843.

[The Hampton Beach Free Medical Clinic has no phone number but can be contacted at Hampton Free Medical Clinic, PO Box 625, Hampton, NH 03843. Care is first come, first served at their 37 Ashworth Avenue location at Hampton Beach. They are open Septemer through May on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.]