SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX18) — Scott County's only free adult medical clinic is at risk of closing its doors -- because they need more volunteers. For the last 15 years, this clinic has served people in the community that doesn't have medical insurance and often can't afford it.
Mike Curtis is an entrepreneur and because he works for himself, he doesn't have health insurance. He's been coming to the Georgetown Community Medical Mission free clinic for nearly a decade.
"Health insurance out there is so expensive and covers so little,” says Curtis.
When Curtis was first diagnosed with diabetes, he went to the emergency room and took home a bill of more than $5,000. He's visited this clinic about twice a year, over the last eight years. When we asked him what he thought those visits would cost without this free clinic, he said, "I wouldn't be able to afford to do that I couldn't keep doing that. I would have to find another way."
The Community Medical Mission Clinic is the only adult-free clinic in the county. Its board said that without more medical volunteers to serve its 100 patients, the clinic has about 1 month left before they'll have to close.
Full-time nurse practitioner and volunteer medical director for the Georgetown clinic, Heather Tucker, says, "We have a lot of patients that have chronic medical conditions. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism. So, you need regular visits as well as regular lab work."
Over the last four years, this clinic has lost 90% of its providers and 50% of its patients.
Board member and registered nurse, Mary Ralph, says, "Probably by the time that we kind of work with the patients that we have we're looking at probably to get them at least taken care of for a while."
Board leaders say they get funded about $12,000 annually. Not enough to hire more people.
Tucker says, "Currently I don't have volunteers that are helping me in the clinic, and we really need nurses, nursing assistants, phlebotomy, anyone that can draw labs."
Curtis says that this clinic has really helped Scott County's lower-income community. He asked anyone that is available to help – to consider helping keep this clinic going.
He says, "If somebody is looking for something to feel fulfilled to do or to put into the community – you can’t find a better way than helping the people you know at their most needed."
If you or someone you know has a medical background and can volunteer part-time at this clinic, they can reach out to sign up. If the clinic isn't able to find more help leaders say they will continue to care for the patients, they currently have as long as they can.