The very first night I worked at Mission Lexington's free medical clinic, a patient wanted to introduce me to her doctor. The patient took my hand, thanked me profusely and told me that her doctor had saved her life.
On my first night working in the dental clinic, I met a man who'd lost his job because of the condition of his teeth.
As providers of free primary medical and dental care for uninsured patients who have no other place to turn, we see lives being transformed every day. And, thanks to Mission Lexington's new expansion, the community impact will be even greater in years to come.
With part-time staff and volunteers, Mission Lexington has provided more than 8,900 patient visits totaling more than $3.4 million in free services.
The new location at 230 South Martin Luther King Blvd. will give us the potential of doubling the number of patients treated, providing better health, improved self-esteem, and a greater likelihood of finding a job due to improved appearance and health.
Before this year, the medical and dental clinics were housed in separate locations. Having both clinics in this 4,800 square-foot building will allow us to expand the dental practice, which had only three dental chairs in a 700-square foot building. The new location doubles the amount of dental operatories, which will increase efficiency and help reduce a waiting list of more than 700 people, some of whom have waited for seven months to be seen.
We also will gain efficiencies from centralizing staff and volunteer operations. Patients will benefit from greater wheelchair accessibility and a location convenient to public transportation.
In addition, Mission Lexington received $24,961 from the Urban County Government to increase the number of patients we see. This funding was recommended following an application process from the Department of Social Services, which ranked Mission Lexington as the fourth-highest applicant (out of 60 programs).
Mission Lexington was the highest-ranked organization that has never received partner agency funding.
Our history demonstrates the dedication of the community to improving care for the poor and working poor:
The dental clinic, which opened in June 2006 on South Limestone, has provided more than 6,300 office visits and more than $2.5 million free dental care for uninsured adults who live at or below the poverty level.
The work of the 25 volunteer dentists as well as technicians and lay people provides exams, restorative work, extractions, dentures (for a small fee), root canals and other complex oral surgeries not provided at any other free dental clinic in Lexington.
The free medical clinic, which opened in December 2008 on Trent Boulevard, serves uninsured working adults in Lexington who earn no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty level as well as patients of the dental clinic. People who receive unemployment or who are full-time students might also be eligible for services.
The medical clinic has provided more than 3,500 primary care visits worth more than $740,000 in free examinations, blood work and medications.
Our future, thanks to the expansion and funding, will bring even more people into the clinic. But it also means that Mission Lexington will need more clinical volunteers. People who would like to volunteer to serve in the medical clinic can call 859-272-0219, and dental clinic volunteers can phone 859-519-8157.
We thank the hundreds of supporters and volunteers who have made the past six years possible, and we look forward to expanding our efforts to help transform our community and workforce into healthier citizens.
At issue: March 4 Herald-Leader article, "Mission Lexington dedicates new home; medical, dental clinics now in same place"