Health clinic for children will open in Pontotoc

PONTOTOC – An organization that provides free health care for kids is opening a new community clinic in Pontotoc.

Community Access To Child Healthcare – or CATCH Kids – will hold an open house Monday for its new Pontotoc Clinic at the G.W. Gilliam Building, which is where the clinic will be housed. The clinic will be open on Mondays from 5 to 7 p.m., beginning Oct. 19.

The goal of the organization is to catch kids who would otherwise fall through the cracks of receiving health care because of a lack of money, transportation and insurance.

CATCH Kids clinics are staffed by volunteer pyhsicians, nurses and lay staff who provide free service to anyone under age 18. The organization will also pay the bill for prescriptions and dental services required by its children.

“We make medical care and dental care available and accessible to children who have trouble getting needed care,” said Executive Director Valerie Long.

CATCH Kids has 14 school and community clinics in Lee, Pontotoc and Chickasaw counties. It has two school clinics in Pontotoc County, at North Pontotoc and South Pontotoc Elementary Schools.

But the organization has been working for about a year to open a community clinic in Pontotoc County.

Able to serve more kids

For one, it will allow CATCH Kids to serve more kids than just the students enrolled in those two elementary schools. It will also give the organization a centralized clinic to which nurses at the two school clinics can make referrals.

“We decided we could reach more kids if we had a community clinic,” said Ricky Ferguson, president of the Pontotoc County Advisory Board for CATCH Kids. “This will be available to all youth in the county.”

Long also said that the evening clinics allow working parents to attend with their children.

“It will be good for the children to be able to use the clinic, especially in time for the flu season” said Elaine Mitchell, a member of the Pontotoc County advisory board for CATCH Kids. “The winter is usually when kids need to go to the doctor more often.”

Monday’s open house, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., will be a chance for members of the community to come to the clinic, see what it will have to offer and meet the advisory board.

The first CATCH Kids clinic was opened in Nettleton in 1998. Since then, it has dealt with a variety of maladies, diagnosing asthma and heart problems and assisting kids with sever dermatological problems.

CATCH Kids uses grants, donations and fund raisers to pay for its expenses, the biggest of which are the cost of prescriptions and dental care.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal