TUPELO – Tree of Life/Abrol de la Vida Free Clinic will double the opportunities for people without health insurance to get medical care in July.
The group will hold its first Wednesday night clinic from 5 to 9 on Wednesday.
The Wednesday night clinic will be routinely held on the first Wednesday of the month, in addition to the group’s clinic on the third Saturday. Both clinics will be held in the group’s building at 541 W. Main St.
The clinic is open to those without private health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.
“We’re beyond where I anticipated we would be at this time,” said Dr. Joe Bailey, the clinic’s founder who, with a dedicated group of volunteers, opened it in January.
At that first clinic, the group offered very basic medical care in borrowed space using the medical mission model Bailey and others used abroad.
In June, the group was able to move into a dedicated space, loaned by Calvary Baptist Church.
The group is now able to have blood tests processed with the help of North Mississippi Medical Center pathology department. Because Doug Wright of Eldercare Prescriptions is providing most of the medications, the group has been able to use other resources to offer insulin for diabetes, Bailey said.
The group is beginning to develop referral relationships with specialists around the region, but they do not have the equipment to take X-rays.
“It’s been tremendous,” Bailey said.
The group still needs more medical professional volunteers, especially physicians and nurse practitioners.
The June Saturday clinic drew more than 150 patients to the clinic. The group has seen more than 700 patients since starting in January.
The Tree of Life clinic is filling a crucial need, Bailey said.
Other charity medical organizations, like the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic, CATCH Kids and Oxford Medical Ministries, are able to offer more clinic hours and more comprehensive services, including X-rays and some dental care.
They also have more relationships with specialists.
However, Good Samaritan and Oxford Medical Ministries serve patients who live in specific counties, meet income guidelines and are employed.
CATCH Kids, which offers community clinics in Tupelo, Okolona and Pontotoc in addition to school-based clinics, sees only children under 18.
Tree of Life/Arbol de la Vida
– For : People who have no private
health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.
– Where: 541 W. Main St.
– Next clinics: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday;
9 to 3 p.m. July 17
– More info: (662) 842-8788
Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal