Free clinic expected to open by end of the year
After approximately a two-year delay, the Agape Clinic in the Historic Northside Neighborhood plans be open by the end of the year.
The Agape Clinic is a free clinic that is run by Agape Health Services with the mission to share the love of Christ while providing free healthcare for those without medical insurance.
Dr. Eric Harding, one of the founders of the clinic, said, “The Affordable Care Act will help provide insurance to some people, but not to all. Employers that have under 15 employees do not have to provide insurance.”
The clinic was originally planned to open last year, but all of the work that is involved with remodeling the house and preparing for a clinic takes donations and many volunteers, which has slowed down the process some.
Jeff Lawrence, the pastor at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, was one of the people that had the idea for opening the clinic.
Harding said, “The need of a free clinic in New Albany was elevated because Union County residents were going to Tupelo to the Good Samaritan free clinic and the Tree of Life free clinic.”
Dr. Harding is the president on the Agape Clinic board, Dr. Shane Scott is the vice president, Dr. Kenny Rakestraw is the treasurer, and Melissa Garrett is the secretary.
The Agape Clinic has been built almost entirely by volunteers.
“Volunteers have made a lot of progress so far. We have had a lot of things given to us, including approximately $8,000 in labor and supplies. Cabinets have been installed, the floors are done, and doors are put up. The bathroom fixtures will be put in soon, but we are still waiting on the electrical and plumbing to be finished,” said Harding. “We are building a handicapped ramp next. Concrete has to be poured for the handicapped parking spaces. The parking lot will be on the side, but the handicapped access will be on the backside.”
Bethlehem United Methodist Church had helped with volunteers as well as other churches, individuals, and organizations. West Tallahatchie Baptist Church and Oak Grove Baptist Church have donated $500 that the churches had raised from Vacation Bible Schools.
In addition to the labor and supplies, another big expense for the clinic will be the medications.
“We’ll be providing medications for patients with they come in with their diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and so on. We’re going to order medications at very low costs but they’re still going to be fairly expensive and that’s where we really need to work on trying to get funds raised,” said Harding. “In the future, we want to be able to dispense medicines that the patient may need. There will be no pain medicines or controlled substances.”
There will be a provider team which will probably be about three people. There are three exam rooms. There will also be a nursing team, hospitality team, and a prayer team.
The Agape Clinic is a non-denominational faith-based clinic.
Harding said, “We are trying to meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the customers. We plan to see 1,000 patients in the first year.”
The medical services are wide-ranging and will include general health screenings, managing chronic illness, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and more. There will be eye doctor and dentist referrals that will be at no cost.
The clinic will see all ages. The Agape Clinic plans to be open twice a month on the weekends and maybe on Wednesday nights.
This is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization. Any gift will be tax-deductible. Anyone can donate online or can call 662-534-0898. Agape Clinic is located at 505 North Street in the Historic Northside Neighborhood. For more information or to donate, people can donate through the CREATE Foundation or through the website, www.agapehs.org.
About Chris Elkins
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