SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State University has adjusted its income guidelines at the MSU Care Clinic in an effort to help more Springfield residents receive health care.
The clinic provides primary care for adults ages 18 to 64 who do not have health insurance. Previously, an individual patient’s household income had to be at or below 150% of the federal poverty level to qualify for services. Under new guidelines, individuals who are at or below 200% of the poverty line may receive services.
Dr. Letitia White-Minnis, associate dean of McQueary College of Health and Human Services, says if the adults in a family of four do not have health insurance, they would be eligible for free services if they make less than $64,940 per year. The full 2021 Poverty Guidelines can be found here.
“I think about families with children where maybe one adult stays at home and one adult works, or there is part-time employment going on,” White-Minnis said. “They may not have employer-sponsored health care. They could be eligible for our services. We have a lot of different services; it doesn’t just have to be for someone who is chronically ill. It could be someone who just needs to maintain their health and receive basic screenings and primary care.”
Brock Hughes, MSU Care Clinic practice manager, told The Heartlander the clinic has patient assistance programs in place through its partnership with Mercy Hospitals, including the Community Medication Access Program which helps patients receive free medication.
The clinic was formerly operated by The Kitchen, Inc., a company dedicated to curb homelessness in the area. In a joint venture, MSU and Mercy took over in October 2015 and are coming up on their seven-year anniversary. The clinic is a teaching setting, but all students are supervised by healthcare professionals and providers.
“The multiple different collaborators we have allows us to provide a really nice interprofessional experience for students,” White-Minnis said. “An example I could give would be, a dietetics student working alongside a pharmacy student and understanding the impact that both diet and medication can have on a chronic condition.”
Patients of the MSU Care Clinic are also offered a food box for free after their visit.
“Obviously, the main focus of our clinic is the health needs of our patients but when you look at the patients we serve, so many have various barriers they face in their life,” Hughes said. “At our clinic we are in a very unique situation where we have the ability to remove some of those barriers they have, whether that be housing, transportation or food.
“We’ve got a team over there that will work with our patients to help them apply for different benefits within our community and help connect them with resources available outside of our clinic. We try to do everything we can to address the needs of an entire patient instead of just specific health needs they may have.”
To learn more about the MSU Care Clinic and how to apply, visit its web page here.