Men's Breakfast Report, September 2010


The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, August 14 with Lee Attema as featured guest.  Lee trained in Boston as an emergency room nurse and as a nurse practitioner.  He then came to Houston where he worked at a free clinic.  He was recruited to be the nurse practitioner for the Freeport Medical Center.  Lee has also attended seminary and is ordained in the Congregational Church. 

A nurse practitioner has extensive training, but not as much as a medical doctor.  He is able to perform most of the functions of a general practitioner doctor, including writing prescriptions.  If the patient has a problem beyond the nurse’s level of expertise, he has to refer the patient to a specialist.  Patients also have to be referred elsewhere if the nurse does not have equipment needed to perform some tests.  The Freeport medical clinic, for example, does not have equipment to perform certain blood analyses so these tests have to be done at other labs.  This can be a problem if the patient does not have insurance that will pay for these tests.  A couple of members of the group have used Lee’s services and found them good and convenient. 

The Freeport Medical Clinic has a full time nurse practitioner, a dentist that comes once a week and an ophthalmologist that also comes once a week.  The Clinic was started by Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church but now has its own board and is an independent organization.  The board provides the building and some operating expenses.  The nurse and doctors are paid by fees collected from the patients.  Standard insurance (Dow) and Medicare are accepted.  Medicaid is also accepted.  Since Medicaid pays at a lower rate than Medicare, many doctors will not accept Medicaid patients and the clinic is one of the few ways that poor patients can get services.  Some patients are not even eligible for Medicaid and therefore receive free care.  The clinic has a fund to reimburse the practitioners for these services, but it has been depleted and needs contributions. 

Lee wants to establish a parish nurse program.  This would be sponsored by our church and provide free screening tests to members of the church and members of the community.  It would try to reach people that generally do not show up to the clinic and be a route to evangelism.  The clinic can not provide spiritual guidance to patients both because lack of time and legal constraints, but a parish nurse could.  It would be necessary to make sure that the parish nurse program does not cut into funding for the medical clinic. 

Lee is already talking to one person about Christianity.  Many of today’s young people have no knowledge of Christianity or the Bible.  The breakfast group discussed the prevailing philosophy, which is a belief that none of the theological questions have any importance, combined with a large amount of materialism.  This developed into a discussion of the prevailing attitude that truth is unobtainable or irrelevant and how this attitude has even extended into academe with the Postmodernist movement. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  Our next meeting will be September 11 with Gilbert Arispe, Freeport Assistant Manager, as featured guest.