KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Free Health Clinic isn't quite as free as it used to be, as the cash-strapped clinic which provides services for people without health insurance is asking for a $10 donation for those who can donate.
The clinic provided services for over 41,000 patients last year, and is staffed by one paid doctor and 100 staff, and helped by almost 1,300 volunteers. But last year, the clinic - founded in 1971 as the Westport Free Clinic - finished the year nearly $200,000 in debt.
The federal government provides approximately half of the clinics $12.5 million budget, with the rest coming from contributed goods and services, private donations, grants and local government.
Clinic officials say that so far the donation request has been received positively.
"There are no charges for our services whatsoever," said clinic marketing director Kirk Isenhour. "We're just asking patients to make a contribution if they're able to contribute to their care."
Isenhour says that many of the patients are giving more than $10, some less, but that they are all grateful for the care that they receive.
Patient Lonnie Gatson says that he would pay if he could.
"I wish I could because I'd hurry up and give it to them, but they told me to come on in anyway," said Gatson.
Clinic staff say that nobody will be turned away if they aren't able to donate.