Say ‘ahh’ … Clinic offers free exams |

Say ‘ahh’ … Clinic offers free exams

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / El Dorado County Health Department nurse practitioner Nancy Jacobs gives a pre-school exam to 4-year-old Itzayari Medina on Monday.

Itzayari Medina, 4, was at the El Dorado County Public Health Clinic bright and early Monday morning getting poked and prodded.

She was there for a health exam required by the state before Itzayari can enter her first year at Bijou Elementary School this fall. Public health nurse Nancy Jacobs checked Itzayari’s vision, hearing and teeth before giving her a clean bill of health.

The county clinic at Johnson Boulevard provides free preventive and family planning services to the uninsured and low-income. Most of their work involves giving free pap smears, birth control, emergency contraception, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases for both men and women, and access to mammograms.

Spanish translators are always available.

About this time of year, they start seeing more children for the required well-child check.

If Jacobs finds something wrong, she connects the family to doctors who can help solve the problems, and with programs that will help pay for them.

“A lot of people don’t know how to navigate the system,” she said. “I can help them get into the system.”

The wait for an appointment is usually around a week, but they get a little busier in August when parents realize their well-child checks are due. She’s encouraging parents to come in sooner to avoid a longer wait.

The most common problem she finds is poor dental health. Usually it’s due to poor nutrition, which becomes worse once teeth have rotted and don’t allow the child to chew nutritious foods. Baby teeth with cavities can ruin primary teeth that are growing below.

Jacobs said most people aren’t aware the clinic exists. It focuses on preventive medicine and screening, while patients with more serious ailments are directed to Barton’s Community Clinic. It’s funded by multiple government and nonprofit sources.

“No one should feel guilty about coming in. These are services available strictly based on income and ability to pay,” she said.

Appointments are available Mondays through Thursdays, and walk-ins are seen on Fridays.

– To contact the health department, call 573-3155 or go to 1360 Johnson Boulevard Suite 103.

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