A new medical clinic to serve low income or uninsured families will open in August on West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to serve residents in the southwestern Fayetteville and Washington County.
Community Clinic recently received a $585,000 grant from Endeavor Foundation to develop the clinic which will offer primary care, behavioral health and general health conditions, said Kathy Grisham, director of Community Clinic.
Community Clinic is a federally qualified Health Center with 12 locations in Northwest Arkansas. Its mission is to address the needs of their community near their home with clinics in Springdale, Rogers and Siloam Springs, dental clinics in Springdale and Rogers, and school-based health centers in Springdale, Fayetteville, Prairie Grove, Lincoln and Siloam Springs. Services at its clinics include preventive care, chronic disease management, prenatal care, women’s health, pediatric services and dental care.
The clinic will be located in the shopping center behind Aldi’s grocery store on West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It will feature 12 exam rooms, a behavioral health office, a lab and general amenities to support up to 6,200 patients annually, when fully operational, according to a news release announcing the grant.
Grisham said the new clinic would be staffed with a pediatrician, a general practice physician and a registered nurse practitioner. The projected patient load in the first year is 3,300 patients. About 1,600 people living in that area already are patients at another Community Clinic.
“It’s bittersweet,” Grisham said of the new clinic. “There’s still a huge need,” as indicated by the need for another clinic for low income or impoverished families in the region.
The fees charged for health services are assessed on a sliding scale based on the ability of the patient to pay if they are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Services offered to children in the school clinics are free.
Grisham said the clinic first looked at the site as a possible location for a clinic about four years ago. A study of updated census tracts indicated the need for a clinic to serve the population in the southwest.
A second catalyst occurred in recent months when the clinic received a request from a pediatric practice to take over an additional patient load of 3,000 patients on Medicaid. She did not identify the pediatric practice. A second request from the same practice was made to Community Clinic, asking their doctors to take over care of newborns. Community Clinic pediatricians have seen 200 newborns in the first three months from Washington Regional Medical Center and Willow Creek Hospital, Grisham said.
Endeavor Foundation is a grant-making organization governed by a board of business, civic and community leaders in Northwest Arkansas. Over the past 15 years, the foundation has made grants totaling more than $93 million to help find solutions to create a thriving and vibrant quality of life in Northwest Arkansas.
Anita Scism, president and CEO of Endeavor, said the foundation has supported Community Clinic for more than a decade.
“We continue to be impressed by the number of people they serve and the quality of affordable care that are able to offer to those most in need,” Scism said. “We commend Community Clinic for offering an alternative to emergency room visits an providing an ongoing continuum of care for thousands of people.”
The foundation also announced to a $411,000 planning grant to Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas to develop a holistic regional approach to ensuring that the physical health, mental health and basic needs of school-aged children. About 23% of children in Northwest Arkansas live below the poverty threshold and more than half of the region’s homeless population is under the age of 18.
“It is very difficult to teach a child who is hungry, sick, chronically absent from school or suffering from ongoing behavioral issues,” said Rogers School Superintendent Janie Darr. “This concept holds great promise to help us resolve some of the biggest issues facing kids outside the classroom so that we can refocus our attention on what we do best, teaching them inside the classroom.”