Race for a cause
There will be three races in Lawrence on April 18 that will benefit Health Care Access.
A marathon, half-marathon and 5K will start and finish at Shenk Sports Complex, 23rd and Iowa streets. The marathon and half-marathon start at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K begins at 8 a.m.
Discount prices are available for people who sign up before Jan. 31.
For more information or to sign up, visit Health Care Access’ Web site at www.healthcareaccess.org or call 841-5760.
Health reporter Karrey Britt wants to get you involved in her reporting. Follow along in our new health section.
Health Care Access leaders say their dreams have become a reality.
The clinic, which provides medical care for the uninsured in Douglas County, has raised the $453,000 that it needed to move into a bigger building at 330 Maine, across from Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s emergency room.
The new building is about twice the size of its current location at 1920 Moodie Road, allowing the clinic to accommodate more volunteers and serve more patients.
“We are just doing the happy dance,” Executive Director Nikki King said.
Health Care Access received a sizable donation on Monday from the Kriz Foundation, and that was the donation that helped the clinic reach its goal.
“We are thrilled,” said Brian Iverson, a board member. “It was just quite a gift to get that last grant. It kind of made all of our efforts and dreams come true.”
Those efforts began more than a year ago when Health Care Access received a $96,000 state-funded capital improvement grant. Board leaders needed to match the grant and find a new location. By June, they achieved both goals.
But, board members didn’t want to relocate until they had raised enough money to pay off the building and cover renovation costs. They didn’t want to accumulate any debt or jeopardize operating dollars. The clinic’s annual budget is about $479,000.
“The board didn’t feel that it was really in our best interest to take money that we were raising to take care of the uninsured to purchase a building,” Iverson said.
This year, the clinic has served 1,600 people, which is an 80 percent increase since serving 886 patients in 1992, when it moved to the Moodie Road location.
Currently, there is a nine-week wait for appointments. The clinic leaves six appointments open daily for acute care, and those are filled within the first 10 minutes of opening.
Once the clinic relocates in the 6,000-square-foot building, King said it should be able to better serve the growing need for its services.
The new building will have 11 clinic rooms instead of its current six. It will have more room for volunteers, storage and patient care.
The new location also will be more convenient because it is near the hospital and other agencies that serve the uninsured.
For volunteers and patients, they can walk across the street instead of driving across town.
“We are very excited for that continuity of care and better follow-through if patients are ordered for a lab or X-ray at the hospital,” King said.
And when uninsured individuals seek emergency care at LMH, doctors can point across the street and encourage those individuals to seek follow-up and preventive care at Health Care Access.
King said the clinic hopes to open the doors at its new location on Feb. 16. Some renovation work still needs to be done, such as installing sinks and patching carpet. Almost all of the work has been provided by community volunteers.
Also, 42 percent of the money raised came from private donations.
“This community has always been so supportive of Health Care Access and the mission of the clinic,” Iverson said.
Board members decided to no longer lease the building on Moodie Road from the city of Lawrence for $1 per year.