New health clinic opens in underserved area of Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a big city like Kansas City, you might think that it wouldn’t be hard to find primary health care close to home. But it can be, especially if you need affordable care. A new clinic is open in one underserved area.

Hickman Mills in southeast Kansas City still has banks and grocery stores, but one important service had mostly moved to the south and east over the years.

“More and more primary care clinics closed,” said Michelle Keller, Vice-President of Patient Services for Swope Health Services.

Now Swope Health Services has move in at 8800 Blue Ridge Boulevard. The primary care clinic is aimed at meeting the needs of 45,000 people in the area who are low income and didn’t have a safety net clinic nearby.

“People in the Hickman Mills area had to drive anywhere from 10 to 15 miles to access basic primary health care,” said Keller.

Keller said that made them less likely to get preventive care that can help them avoid bigger health problems.

“Having a clinic in your neighborhood means you establish a relationship with a doctor, they get to know you, you’re more likely to follow your treatment plans,” said Keller.

Christi Adams found the clinic when she had another appointment in the same building. She said it’s been a long time since she’s had primary care.

“I’m thinking almost 10 years or more. Fifteen years,” said Adams.

She said that’s because she doesn’t have health insurance. At the Swope clinic, that doesn’t matter. Patients pay according to their income. Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance are also accepted.

“It’s gonna be a great benefit, a great benefit for me,” said Adams.

And likely many others in Hickman Mills.

Keller said Swope Health Central on Blue Parkway had seen about 3,500 patients from the Hickman Mills area, and now those people won’t have to travel as far for care.