Conveniently located directly across the street from a bus stop, Direct Relief partner, Mission Medical Clinic, began their practice in 2004.
“Mission Medical gives people hope,” said Building Manager Chris Hampton.
Mission Medical, a free clinic in Colorado Springs, provides care for uninsured adults ranging 19 to 64 years of age. The prime location allowed people with lower incomes to easily access such a clinic.
“We take anyone and everyone,” Executive Director Barb Cronin said.
However, due to city budget cuts, the bus stop has since been removed. Hampton said the end of the bus services made it difficult for the working poor to access care at the clinic. But even after the loss of the bus stop, Mission Medical continues to serve approximately 600 patients every year, many with chronic illnesses.
“What makes us different is that we try to break the cycle of poverty and sickness with self-responsibility,” said Hampton.
Mission Medical is a one-stop-shop. With the medical clinic, numerous other programs and the chapel and prayer center, Cronin says they serve “mind, body and spirit.” She said her favorite program is the dental program.
“When someone comes in missing a front tooth, they don’t smile,” Cronin said. “We can give them a smile. People walk out absolutely beaming with confidence and they can apply for jobs.”
Along with the dental, podiatry and Coumadin blood clot prevention programs, Mission Medical also has more than 30,000 pairs of glasses stored and ready for their “Renewed Vision” program, giving people the “gift of sight.” The behavioral health programs include educators and nutritionists for patients dealing with both physical and mental issues and illnesses, allowing the staff to work with both the patient and the family members for prevention and progress.
The Prescription Assistance Program, however, run by 17 volunteers, is one of most utilized programs, giving out approximately $1.7 million in medicine since it began in 2006. Once patients have applied for the program, there is a 30-60 day gap before receiving medicine, which is where Direct Relief plays “an integral part of the treatment,” according to Cronin.
“We are able to then give free prescriptions during that gap.”
With the Affordable Care Act soon to be in place, Cronin said she believes there will “still be numerous people in need of care.” While many people will become eligible for Medicaid, there will still be a shortage of primary care providers, according to Cronin.
She said Mission Medical will remain a safety net for those newly eligible. Though the clinic is just minutes from both Memorial Hospital and Penrose Hospital, Cronin says, “Our goal is to keep our patients out of the ER.” Cronin says their goal is successful in that the hospitals frequently recommend the patients attend follow up care at Mission Medical instead of the hospital.
Direct Relief has worked with Mission Medical for three years, most recently sending shipments of medicines and medical supplies to support people affected by the Black Forest Fire who sought care at the clinic.