Thirty years after founding the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Dr. D. Holmes Morton is about to open a similar nonprofit clinic about two hours from Lancaster.
Central Pennsylvania Clinic, A Medical Home for Special Children and Adults in Belleville, Mifflin County, is scheduled to start accepting patients in early July. Since 2012, Holmes and others have been seeing patients in smaller temporary quarters in that area.
The clinics are separate nonprofit organizations both focused on treating rare genetic diseases among Plain sect people.
In his remarks at the clinic's dedication in mid-May, Holmes emphasized the urgent need for people to get vaccinated against diseases like measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and flu to avoid what he terms "preventable family and individual tragedies," in light of ongoing measles outbreaks in parts of the United States.
He struck a similar tone in the clinic's latest newsletter, writing that there are not very effective treatments to reverse the kinds of problems those vaccine-preventable diseases can cause, "like heart malformations, deafness, blindness, and abnormal brain development and seizures."
He also mentioned that his mother spent most of her life not able to hear well, because of measles.
"Please do it now, for your family and your community," he wrote in the newsletter.
The new clinic's total cost is expected to be about $2.3 million, according to executive director Paul Morton, who is Holmes Morton's brother. So far, he said, more than $800,000 has been donated, and long-term financing from the Anabaptist Foundation will be repaid over 20 years from the clinic’s operating funds.
Overall, he said, fees make up about a quarter of annual operating costs, with the rest covered by benefit auctions and donations.
Donation information is at centralpennsylvaniaclinic.org/donate/.