The MSU Care clinic has provided 12,179 completed appointments to homeless patients and patients who are unable to afford health insurance since its opening three years ago.
Graduate student Molly Vahldick has spent half of her clinical hours at MSU Care as part of the nurse practitioner program and has seen its successes first-hand.
“Everyone deserves equal care,” Vahldick said. “MSU Care staff members truly care for their patients and dedicate their time and effort to ensure they receive the best outcomes.”
In collaboration with Mercy Health System, the clinic opened inside O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center in October 2015.
“The goal was to create an interdisciplinary clinic for the same demographic seen at The Kitchen Medical Clinic but to house this clinic on the MSU property,” said Dr. Kathryn Patterson, clinical associate professor of nursing and clinic family nurse practitioner.
According to Missouri’s county health rankings, 17 percent of Greene County residents and 14 percent of Christian County residents are uninsured. Data USA shows that the current poverty rate in Springfield is 25.9 percent.
Not your average clinic
The clinic provides services to adults 18 to 64 who have no health insurance, are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare and have a household income equal to or less than 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
“MSU Care clinic is unique in comparison to other clinics in the area due to the nature of its mission,” said Dr. Vanessa McConnell, clinical associate professor of nursing and clinic family nurse practitioner.
MSU Care’s mission focuses on providing free medical care, promoting health in a compassionate environment and forming productive partnerships within the community.
Patients who qualify for services receive their medications free. The clinic partners with Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center for free counseling, Burrell Behavior Health for community resources and UMKC School of Pharmacy for medication assistance.
An interdisciplinary approach
MSU Care also looks to Missouri State students for help. Their approach is an interdisciplinary style of teaching and learning.
“Interdisciplinary-based care offers comprehensive medical care, which facilitates greater patient outcomes and successes,” McConnell said. “It also offers students the opportunity to see how other disciplines function and what those disciplines bring to the medical realm.”
“Many of the students do not get exposure to other disciplines until they have graduated and are working,” Patterson said. “This allows them the opportunity to learn and understand the roles each of us have when providing patient care.”
Vahldick worked alongside McConnell during her clinical hours.
“I have a better understanding of my unique role as a nurse practitioner by spending time at the clinic,” Vahldick said. “I know how to engage with team members, make referrals, speak with specialists and provide holistic care.”
Equal care for everyone
Because of the need for accessible health care, the clinic has expanded.
“We have grown immensely. It’s allowed us to offer more to our patients,” McConnell said.
Since opening, the clinic has gained specialty providers, a UMKC partnership, a Greene County Health Department partnership and more Mercy personnel.
For more information, visit msucare.missouristate.edu or call 417-837-2270.