Q&A: Patients rewarded for community service at East Tacoma health clinic

VIDEO: Wellness Made Easy offers new model for health care

The newly opened Tacoma medical clinic, Wellness Made Easy, offers discounts for community service.
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The newly opened Tacoma medical clinic, Wellness Made Easy, offers discounts for community service.

Patients who do volunteer work can get discounts at a new health clinic in East Tacoma.

The Wellness Made Easy Clinic opened Nov. 2 at the Peoples Retirement Community, which is equipped to treat patients from 2 months old on up.

Part of the goal with the discounts offered by the clinic is to make health care accessible to those who need it, said Anne Horsley, the clinic’s nurse practitioner.

“Financially,” she said, “we’re offering a bargain that could help people who otherwise might not be able to get in to see providers.”

Horsley, a nurse practitioner for 17 years and a registered nurse for 24, talked to The News Tribune recently about the new, for-profit company.

Question: Can you explain the idea behind the clinic?

Answer: We’re wellness-focused rather than illness-focused. The unique thing about us is that we want to help integrate volunteerism into our community and into health.

Volunteering is good for a person. A lot of times we have people out there who just want something to do. They want to give back. We’re rewarding people for that volunteerism.

Are there other clinics like this?

A: This is our pilot clinic. We hope to expand rapidly and greatly across the country. We’ve had a lot of interest.

Q: How does it work?

A: We have a tracker application available on our website. They can log in their hours and write where they volunteered.

People who enroll in the program can receive discounts off medical and health care supplies. It’s an ever-expanding database of products. And by volunteering they can reach different levels of discounts on their products.

Q: What sort of discounts do you offer?

A: We have a basic membership where they fill out a short survey and they’re a member. The next tier is a silver membership. To get silver membership they just have to volunteer one time and complete the first part of our next survey.

Our gold volunteer is someone who volunteers once a month. And they complete the second part of our survey.

The platinum member is our top-tier, and that’s someone who volunteers more than once a month on a regular basis. It can be an hour here, and hour there, two different places.

They’re going to receive the greatest discounts on their services — up to 50 percent off retail prices on our products, which is pretty significant. For people who are platinum members, when they come to see us at the clinic, their copays are waved. That’s a biggie.

Q: What kind of products are we talking about?

A: There are things such as a diapers, there are incontinence products, gloves. Again, the database of our products is expanding every day. It’s somewhat limited to health-care items now. There will be nutritional products, personal hygiene products, medications, vitamins and such.

Q: Does the volunteering need to be at the clinic?

A: You can volunteer anywhere in your community — being an usher at your church, helping out the PTA at your child’s school, volunteering with communities in schools or the Special Olympics. No matter where they’re volunteering, they’re going to be rewarded.

Studies have shown volunteerism really keeps people healthy; it keeps you living longer and happier. Taking volunteerism and rewarding it is a wellness concept.

Q: Are there other clinics in the neighborhood?

A: There are not many medical providers in East Tacoma. We’re here now, and we’re open.

Q: Is part of the business model that the volunteering concept will attract a client base that will help sustain you?

A: That’s the thing. We could be like any other medical clinic out there. The patients will come back when they need you and such. But we’re hoping people will respond to our concept as well, and say: “These guys give back, we want to help support them in their efforts.”

And, of course, if people don’t want to volunteer or don’t have time, we do function as a regular medical clinic. If we get more people involved in helping others, it builds a better community.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

For more information

Visit wellnessmadeeasy.org or call 253-212-0202. The clinic is at 1720 E. 67th St., in suite 119.