The city of Lake Oswego and specifically the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center lost a valuable asset and public service this month when it discontinued its foot clinic. For the more than 300 patrons who are served each year, the decision not only discontinues a valuable medical service but offers no practical solution for those clients.

LOACC has provided rented space for the foot clinic for more than 15 years. This medical service has been offered by professional, both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, for persons of all ages, although the majority of the patrons are senior men and women.

The Foot Care Clinic program is not a pedicure. The clinic nurses trim the nails, buff calluses and evaluate the condition of the feet, inasmuch as many of the patrons suffer from arthritis, diabetes or have other foot problems. References are given when serious foot problems are encountered. Again, I emphasize this is not a pedicure, which is a cosmetic service, but a medical one. The nurses, for example, do not paint the clients’ toenails.

As of September, the service was terminated; the reason given was “Foot Care Nurses, LLC (which has provided the service each month at the senior center) is not able to meet the city’s insurance requirements,” according to a letter from the senior center. These financial insurance requirements were in addition to the sum charged during the three years offering the clinic at the center.

The Lake Oswego city attorney indicates that the city of Lake Oswego does not set the insurance coverage requirements “not grants or oversees waivers from the city’s standard amounts.” The city apparently chooses not to pursue the matter further with the insurance carrier in the interests of the LOACC or its patrons.

Lake Oswego Foot Clinic patrons have been advised to make other arrangements for their foot care. The LOACC suggests using an in-home service (a 30 percent fee increase over the charge at the center), or patronizing out-of-town seniors centers such as Milwaukie or Beaverton, where the service is offered. This does not make sense for a city interested in serving the older population at its attractive, service-oriented facilities at Fifth and G.

A city that seems to provide us with so many superfluous services (multiple mailings touting the city’s many programs, street banners promoting safety seats for children, kayak lessons for adults, storytime for infants, for example) could surely find the funds to underwrite the demanded additional required insurance.

I find myself speaking for the disappointed men and women, most of them seniors as I have explained, whom I have met during my 15 years as volunteer clerk/receptionist for the program.

We can and should do better for our seniors. They should not be encouraged to patronize Milwaukie, Beaverton or other out-of-town senior centers for services.

Jeanne Keevil is a Lake Oswego resident.

Contract Publishing

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