OZARK, Mo. — You may have heard of Lift Up Springfield – a free clinic for the poor and the homeless off Kearney St. That clinic started seeing a new wave of people – working families, some with insurance, who still couldn’t afford their co-pays and deductibles.
A new primary and urgent care clinic opened up along 65 and Highway CC in Ozark to try and help fill that gap.
“You can go see the doctor and it won’t break the bank,” said Cindy Dennis.
She and Larry Dennis don’t have health insurance right now. She says they got sick of paying too much for their co-pay through the ACA, which was $125.
“The insurance itself was already through the roof,” she said.
“You come in here and get a complete physical for less than that, or blood work done for a lot less than that,” said Larry.
It’s because of families like them that Dr. Tricia Derges opened up Lift Up Ozark. She says in the past few months, she started seeing working families come into Lift Up Springfield – a free clinic for the poor and the homeless – because their co-pays and deductibles were too high to afford.
“It’s the same as not having insurance,” she said. “They take the place of someone that really needs it. They don’t do it intentionally, but they are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
So she footed the bill and opened up the Ozark clinic.
“I paid for it. I took a loan out,” she said. “I have a lot of faith, and I believe there’s such a huge need because I’ve seen it.”
She now has five doctors here who believe in her mission
“I think it just reminds you why you choose your career, choose to be a doctor,” said Dr. Evelyn Partain. “Especially when you find a vulnerable population that can’t afford to receive care.”
Dr. Derges said it was never a question of whether or not she would do this, it was just about how quickly she could get the doors open.
“We talk about this every day, but nobody does anything. Heavens! We sit and wait for decisions to be made, we count on all of our officials, Washington,” she said. “I thought: You know what? Let’s get it done right now.”
At Lift Up Ozark, patients pay $75 for whatever they need to be done, including lab work.
The money helps pay the doctors, and Dr. Derges hopes it will help fund the Springfield clinic which now relies on donations.
Lift Up Ozark is open from 7 am until midnight, seven days a week.