Project Will Expand Care to Uninsured Patients

With a shared desire to care for our community, Mercy, Missouri State University (MSU) and The Kitchen, Inc. are in the planning stages of a project that will expand access to health care for low-income, uninsured patients while also expanding educational opportunities for MSU students.

The project will create a primary care clinic on the MSU campus, in the new O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center. The clinic will serve uninsured adult patients who are not eligible for coverage under Medicare or Medicaid.

“We’ve seen firsthand the need for this care in our community,” said Rorie Orgeron, CEO of The Kitchen, Inc., which has been offering health care services since 1985. It is an effort Mercy has supported through funding and donations of supplies and medical staff time. MSU has also been a partner, as students pursuing the nurse practitioner program have fulfilled a portion of their curriculum by providing care at The Kitchen Medical and Dental Clinic.

MSU and Mercy will operate the new clinic, which will provide hands-on training for students in health sciences degree programs in collaboration with Mercy medical staff. “This clinic plan exemplifies our public affairs mission,” said Dr. Helen Reid, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at MSU. “Not only will we provide greater service to our community, students in the college will participate in a collaborative practice model of care designed to improve health care outcomes, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction.  This clinic will allow us to meet new accreditation standards for interprofessional education, and graduates will be even better providers for their future patients.”

For Mercy, this project is a continuation of the legacy of compassionate care the Sisters of Mercy brought to Springfield back in 1891, when they arrived to establish the first hospital in town. “Our purpose has always been to serve those who need us, with particular concern for the economically poor,” said Carmen Parker-Bradshaw, Mercy director of Community Health and Access. “We’re hoping this gives uninsured patients another way to access care before their symptoms force them to the emergency room. We want to help them before their illness gets severe.”

While the details of the plan are still being finalized, the goal is to have the program in place by October 2015.

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