KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Most doctors’ offices are closed on the weekends, but that didn't stop thousands of patients from receiving free medical care Saturday at Bartle Hall as the convention center became a treatment center for the under-insured.
Craig Deitz, D.O. is the medical director for the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. He said the the goal is to help uninsured people get connected to local resources.
He says the day is also about community-wide health education.
“You wouldn't believe how many people don’t know that this exists," said Deitz. "Even if they don’t have insurance themselves, they just think they’re hung out to dry.”
Connie Hanson is a patient trying to figure out why she’s lost so much weight in the last six months, along with suffering from violent stomach aches. She said she works full time but doesn't have the extra cash for medical insurance.
That’s what sends her to the emergency room once a month or so.
“It’s still very unaffordable for people that’s only making a little bit over minimum wage or at minimum wage,” said Hanson.
Her mother Lydia Wagner sat by her side. She described how tough it’s been watching her daughter struggle with no health insurance.
“It’s been terrible," said Wagner. "I wonder about her every single solitary day.”
Steven Sacket, M.D. is the physician who met Connie. He traveled from Oklahoma to volunteer his time for the day.
“It’s always been on my heart to just take care of those folks who can’t access healthcare the way most folks do through insurance,” said Sacket, who stresses that the efforts are about more than these appointments.
“We’re here one day but it’s the free clinic system, the safety net that are really going to be doing the work forward.”
Wagner says she hopes today brings her daughter healing and peace of mind.
“I just hope and pray that they can give her some information as to what her problem is,” said Wagner.
Click here to read more about the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC).
Click here to read more about the Kansas City CARE Clinic.