“On the first day we open, we want to have a full day of appointments,” said Kate Banick, executive director of the Good Health Clinic.

The clinic has operated in Tavernier since 2003 and is opening a satellite office in Marathon on Tuesday, August 21. Its mission is to help community members who cannot afford health insurance.

Banick said support from United Way of the Florida Keys and Direct Relief International will enable the clinic to be open twice a week, for a trial period of two years. The office will be located on the ground floor of the Bay Medical Center at 13365 Overseas Hwy., in the same building as Dr. John O’Connor.

“We have some clients who come to our Tavernier office from Marathon and even Key West. We think we would see even more if transportation was not an issue. Will there be lines out the door? We don’t know. But it’s the right time, post Hurricane Irma, to assess the need down there,” Banick said.

Leah Stockton of United Way of the Florida Keys said the entity was eager to partner with the Good Health Clinic in an “impactful” way in the Middle Keys.

“This will allow people to have medical care who would otherwise have to choose between paying rent and going to the doctor,” Stockton said.

The satellite office in Marathon will provide the same medical primary care offered in Tavernier including disease management, family planning, prescription assistance, diagnostics and access to specialists as needed.

Before Hurricane Irma, almost a quarter of Middle Keys residents were without health insurance.

Banick said she is very grateful to work in a community that supports Good Health Clinic’s mission. Private citizens fundraise and donate money to keep the doors open with events like the annual “Big Kahuna” contest in the Upper Keys where the candidate who brings in the most funds wins the title. In addition, Good Health Clinic has a good relationship with Baptist Health South Florida that operates the hospitals in Tavernier and Marathon.


“We have great partnerships with Baptist,” Banick said. “There are times when we can utilize their imaging facilities and share information about patients’ care with the volunteer provider network.”

Appointments will be available beginning Aug. 21 and the clinic will be open Tuesdays and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. However, Good Health Clinic encourages potential patients to call 305-946-1314 or email [email protected] to apply for eligibility now. Additional information and applications

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Sara Matthis thinks community journalism is important, but not serious; likes weird and wonderful children (she has two); and occasionally tortures herself with sprint-distance triathlons, but only if she has a good chance of beating her sister.