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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Agape Clinic this Saturday

  • Medical resources in Pratt County — primary care, specialty physicians and surgeons, diagnostic screening, a regional medical center — aren’t readily available for everyone. Hundreds of county residents, perhaps as many as a thousand or more, are too young for Medicare and don’t have health insurance.


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  • Medical resources in Pratt County — primary care, specialty physicians and surgeons, diagnostic screening, a regional medical center — aren’t readily available for everyone. Hundreds of county residents, perhaps as many as a thousand or more, are too young for Medicare and don’t have health insurance.
    “People have been going without care and without meds,” said Jeanette Gaider, manager of Agape Health Clinic, which opened last October to serve patients who meet income guidelines and don’t have health insurance.
    “It’s hard to believe two people live on $790 a month,” she said, describing the circumstances of one patient. “The apartment comes to $350 a month. With groceries, electricity and gasoline, I don’t know how they do it. Throw a couple of doctor visits in there and there’s no money for food.”
    Since October, the clinic has gained a patient list of 50, who have made 77 visits. Of the 50 clients, Gaider said 10 are diabetic and others have high blood pressure, thyroid problems or other chronic diseases, meaning they need regular monitoring to keep symptoms under control.
    “I definitely think it’s going well,” said Dr. Eric Clarkson, volunteer medical director. “The new diagnoses of diabetes and high blood pressure result in real and meaningful change in people’s lives. By finding diseases in the early stages, we anticipate saving office visits, surgeries, hospitalizations and emergency room visits down the road.”
    The clinic has had good volunteer support from physicians, mid-level providers, nurses and community people who perform a variety of jobs from registration to housekeeping to bringing refreshments. Gaider estimates she has a list of 25 to 30 people she can call, and once they help, they usually want to come back.
    Volunteers donate four or more hours a month because they believe it’s the right thing to do, Clarkson said.
    Speaking for himself and other medical professionals who volunteer, he said, “part of who we are is to help the communities we serve. It’s the way I was brought up — part of my faith to give back as I have been blessed.”
    Gaider said that financially the clinic is “doing real well,” with her part-time salary and about $200 a month for medications as the primary expenses. A non-profit organization that oversees Agape Health Clinic received an $8,216 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and has been supplemented by local donations. Pratt Regional Medical Center pledged $10,000 for lab work and X-rays, as well as providing the linens and laundry service for examination tables.
    Additional funds would provide for more continuing care, Clarkson noted, and anyone who wants to help is urged to contact Gaider.
    A health clinic is held on the first Saturday of each month at Chandler Hall on the Pratt Community College campus. A dental clinic is held once each quarter at Pratt Family Dental. Attendance at the health clinic is required to be scheduled for a dental extraction, Gaider stressed.
    Page 2 of 2 - The doors open at 8 a.m. and patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis, without appointments. There is paperwork to fill out, just like at a doctor’s office, frequently a prescription to be filled and occasionally a referral for more specialized care. If necessary, the clinic can provide the first month’s generic medication, to allow the patient time to save for following months. As a volunteer coordinator with PRMC’s Prescription Assistance Program, Gaider can help patients apply for free or reduced price medications.
    Agape Health Clinic was modeled after a similar project in Kingman, which a year ago, was seeing several patients from Pratt. That clinic has since closed, shifting about 10 patients from Kingman to Pratt.
    Gaider said a new clinic is being developed in Kingman.
     
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