Jefferson County Medical Advocacy and Services Headquarters (JC MASH) grew out of the concerned awareness primarily among local church members for the large number of people in the county without medical insurance and/or the ability to afford medical attention, especially the underemployed, and those who earn too much to qualify for benefits but not enough to afford medical insurance. The intent was to help individuals get access to comprehensive care within the larger medical community by validating their medical needs and acting as their advocates.
In the Fall of 1993 a letter from Grace Lutheran Church was sent to other community churches asking for interested persons to meet and discuss ways to help “people who fall through the cracks” of the medical system.
As participants continued to meet, many ideas were formulated. A fact-finding trip to a free clinic in Tacoma asked questions to learn how a similar program could be set up here. Various sites for a place where a physician could see people outside his/her place of practice on a Saturday morning were considered including local churches, the recreation center and the health department.
On the first Saturday of August, 1994, JC MASH opened at the American Legion Hall and has been seeing people there continuously for the past 20 years. Initial staffing was all volunteer including physicians, helpers at the clinic, and the board of directors. One of the founders, James K. Rotchford, M.D., continues today as board member and medical director.
The clinic offered medical assessments; referrals to appropriate health services; limited, non-invasive primary care; emergency prescription coverage when possible; and advocacy with appointments, paperwork, and financial information.
Clallam Jefferson Community Action Council (CAC) was involved at the beginning. CAC managed a donation account, and provided training and guidance to JC MASH volunteers who directed clients to appropriate sources of financial and medical services.
In 1994 United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County (UGN) recognized JC MASH’s place as a valuable community service. Since then, UGN has been a staunch and unwavering supporter of JC MASH, providing most of our funding along the way.
Early in 1996 CAC and UGN requested that JC MASH incorporate and become independent of CAC. By July, 1996, the State of Washington had granted JC MASH nonprofit status. Shortly thereafter JC MASH closed its account with CAC and opened its corporate account at Quimper Credit Union.
In 2004, the Port Townsend Rotary Club joined UGN as a major funding source. In 2005, the Rotary funding made the addition of a patient advocate position possible, greatly enhancing follow-up services to clients. Since then the funds have been used to expand the Clinic Manager’s position to include Patient Advocate duties.
Throughout our history, private community donations have generously responded to the need for our services.
Although volunteers, staff, and board members change from time to time, JC MASH continues. We are an incorporated, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) company (and your donations to us are tax-deductible!).
Our paid staff includes a Medical Clinic Manager.