TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The rough economy has Topeka's Marian Clinic busier than ever.
Cotton-O'Neil Dr. Scott Teeter has seen the increase firsthand. He's volunteered at Marian Clinic since shortly after it was founded in 1988 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, which also runs Topeka's St. Francis Health Center. Their mission is to provide medical care to uninsured and low income Shawnee County residents and families.
Teeter says he's seen the patient numbers increase the past couple years. He says some are people who've lost their jobs or lost their insurance, while others are impoverished and never had insurance.
Teeter is among 200 volunteer medical professionals who, along with Marian Clinic's one full time and one part time paid physician, saw nearly 5000 patients in 2010. The work is done from their modest office at SW 10th and Garfield. There's also a dental clinic on SE 6th.
Teeter says doctors will address a wide range of medical concerns. The goal is to intervene earlier and take care of problems when they're not as severe. In that way, he says, people will not resort to making the hospital emergency room their primary health care home, which adds to health care costs.
In addition to medical care, partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and a state drug program allowed the clinic to provide $1.8 million in free medications last year - things like insulin and asthma supplies, and blood pressure and non-narcotic pain meds.
For all they do, Stormont-Vail is honoring Marian Clinic with its 2011 Bal Jeffrey Award, given for significant contributions to health care. Stormont-Vail Foundation president Don Schepker says, without Marian clinic, the picture for many people would be bleak. Many people who are uninsured, he says, would not have adequate access to health care.
Teeter agrees. He says people would simply go without care if Marian Clinic didn't step in. He says it's an issue that impacts the entire community. People who aren't healthy risk spreading illness and, on the issue of cost, he says people struggling to pay medical bills may resort to crime to get money.
He says, for the health of a community, it's important to help people who have no where else they can be cared for.
Marian Clinic will receive its award during a dinner Wednesday night at the Ramada Hotel.