Serving Humanity to Honor God
No health insurance? Low income? Health insurance but limited resources?
Canyon Lake resident Tricia Hartnett Mathis RN, a Wesley nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, probably can help.
She works with Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake (CRRC) and Comal County ESD No. 3 (Canyon Lake Fire/EMS) to provide health screenings and wellness education to the underserved in Canyon Lake and Bulverde/Spring Branch.
“We’re placed in rural areas where there is a need to fill the gap with healthcare resources and education, facilitating resources for people,” she says. “Our mission is serving humanity to honor God.”
In 2017, Mathis estimates she saw 400 adults in Comal County.
“I see a lot of diabetes. We see a lot of hypertension. We see a lot of nutritional needs. Healthy eating goes along with hypertension and diabetes. There’s food insecurity in our community, which is the inability to go and buy food because there’s not enough money left.”
She offices at Canyon Lake United Methodist Church, where she also provides diabetic supplies and education about managing the disease.
Potential patients frequently can’t even get to her clinics because they don’t have transportation to get to the doctor let alone to classes at Tye Preston Memorial Library or the fire station at 1074 Scissortail.
Also noticeably absent in her healthcare equation is free community education.
“The goal I have in 2018 is to try and provide more education,” she says. “One of our big things as community health and wellness nurses is prevention. Educating people on to how to stay healthy.”
Hearing the facts from experts helps, Mathis says. New diabetics don’t necessarily know what types of food choices they need to make. People with hypertension don’t know enough about taking steps that would lower it.
“People have a general understanding, but need reinforcement when something actually happens,” she says. “Everyone needs something different.”
Recently, she and Canyon Lake Fire/EMS’ Greg Eckert Jr., MS, LP and MIH paramedic, assessed an individual who did not know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were high.
“Somebody just walked in, saw our flyer and wanted to get checked out. It’d been awhile since they saw a physician. We screened them and were able to connect them with a physician to start medication. We provided education about how to manage those things. They can come back and follow up.”
Mathis partners with Canyon Lake Fire/EMS through Healthcare Alliance of Providers and Partners for You (HAPPY in Canyon Lake) to provide free health screenings and resource referrals. Services include glucose monitoring, ECG, blood pressure checks, cholesterol, A1c and body mass index.
“Her willingness to work with Canyon Lake Fire/EMS has increased the quality and efficiency of my program,” Eckert says. “Tricia’s ability and skills as a nurse serving the community are invaluable and irreplaceable.”
Residents do not need proof-of-income to participate in these screenings.
Clinics are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Tuesday of every month at Canyon Lake Presbyterian Church, 230 Shepherd Hill Dr.
For more information, call Mathis at 830-899-7145 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Eckert can be reached at 830-310-9094 or at MIH@ccesd3.org.
Mathis also partners with Spring Branch Acacia Medical Mission and the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in New Braunfels, which only treat patients that do not have health insurance and meet certain financial requirements.
Many of her patients are referrals from these clinics or the CRRC.
“It’s great to have someone like Tricia in our community,” says Maureen Schein, resource program director for CRRC. “I’m afraid there’s a lot of medical information I just don’t have, so it’s nice to have someone available that can answer some questions for me, or to direct me to someone who might have the right answer.”
Also, the CRRC is frequent recipient of donated medical equipment that’s, “well, weird! I don’t know what it is. Tricia knows. And if it’s something I don’t need, or want to keep here, she’ll often take it with her. She has clients that might be able to use it.”
Diaper Assistance Program
In 2018, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 8, Feb. 6, March 6 and April 3, Mathis will teach classes on infant and children’s health and well-being at Startzville Elementary’s Family Resource Center, 42111 FM3159. Topics include making the most of doctor visits, managing illness and symptoms and healthy habits.
“It’s a program that existed solely in Bexar County for a long time,” she says. “I work with Wesley nurses in San Antonio, and somehow the subject of expanding into surrounding counties came up. There is a need. We decided to expand out to Comal and other surrounding counties.”
Participants receive 50 free diapers for each child in the family, and can participate until potty training begins for their children.
“I think there is a need in this community for diaper assistance,” she says. “I’m hoping it can become a bigger group, maybe like a mom group or support thing. It’s exciting to be able to offer this to Canyon Lake.”
No proof of income is required — just a valid ID. To register, call 830-899-7145 or email email@example.com.
Classes are in partnership with Texas Diaper Bank.
A native of Ozona in West Texas, Mathis has lived in Canyon Lake since 1992. She worked in acute-care settings in hospitals before signing on as a Wesley nurse.