JOPLIN, Mo. — Where do you turn for help when you need medical care but can’t afford to pay for it? One area organization has been providing that for decades now.
What is now known as the Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri, located on 7th Street in Joplin, is celebrating a milestone in providing medical services for people like Gloria Noran, who had no place else to turn to get treated for diabetes.
“They have been a tremendous blessing in my life over the years. One of the things that have really stood out to me is that I have never been treated less than a person because I don’t have insurance and I don’t have financial status. They have been very kind,” said Noran.
This is actually the second physical location for the organization which started 30 years ago and in that time there have been an estimated 200,000 patient visits.
The original location was this building which was part of the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin. The organization is made up primarily of medical professionals donating their time and talents to take care of individuals and families falling through the healthcare cracks. It eventually outgrew the small building and moved to its current site in 1999.
“The uninsured residents of Southwest Missouri, we are the stop gap for the working poor, people who make too much money for Missouri Medicaid but can’t afford marketplace insurance,” said Stephanie Brady, Executive Director.
Three decades later, over 85,000 uninsured people in six southwest Missouri counties, and even a few in southeast Kansas have been treated through the nonprofit.
“We started just with primary care and we’ve added several different specialty cares so we do everything from pulmonology, cardiology, gynecology, diabetic specialty, pediatrics, all the different areas in which we have a high need,” added Brady.
Julia Riker was hesitant to seek medical care here, but after enough encouragement from a friend, she wouldn’t go anywhere else, even if she had the choice.
“I felt very comfortable the minute I walked in the door. The staff that meets you at the front is very friendly, everybody here has been very friendly and I would just say that this is really the place to get your medical care if you do not have insurance,” shared Riker.