MSU Care Clinic adjusts income guidelines so more families can qualify for free services

Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 6:05 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Access to health care is essential to everyone. Missouri State University’s Care Clinic has made its free services available to more people by adjusting its income guidelines.

What is now the MSU Care Clinic was initially started by The Kitchen in the 1980′s as an outpatient clinic to support those who could not afford health care. In 2015, Missouri State and Mercy reestablished the clinic to provide free health care and pharmacy services.

“We provide primary care for underserved adults ages 18-64 who don’t qualify for insurance,” said Shelley Carter, a Nurse Practitioner at the clinic.

“We also have a food box program, so if you’re a patient at our clinic, you’re eligible to take a food box with you every time you come,” added Jaime Gnau, a Dietician/Nutritionist at the clinic.

Those who qualify for the clinic’s free services are based on the federal government’s poverty guidelines.

“Previously, your household income had to be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify,” explained Letitia White-Minnis, the Associate Dean of McQueary College of Health and Human Services. “Now it is 200 percent.”

That means more people are now eligible to get the clinic’s services.

Here are some numbers from the 2022 Federal Poverty Level data that do the math for you.

These figures mark 200 percent below the poverty level, meaning that you qualify for the MSU Care Clinic services if your income is at or less than these totals.

Family Size: 1 person...yearly income of $27,180 or less....monthly income of $2,265 or less

Family Size: 2 people...yearly income of $36,620 or less...monthly income of $3,052 or less

Family Size: 3 people...yearly income of $46,060 or less...monthly income of $3,838 or less

Family Size: 4 people...yearly income of $55,500 or less...monthly income of $4,625 or less

Family Size: 5 people...yearly income of $64,940 or less...monthly income of $5,412 or less

Family Size: 6 people...yearly income of $74,380 or less...monthly income of $6,198 or less

The clinic’s services include physical exams, blood tests, pharmacy services, x-rays, mental health education, and referrals to other community resources.

And keep in mind students are a part of the staff.

“All the students here are supervised by health care providers,” Carter said. “We’re a teaching clinic, so we have our different health care programs that come through here, such as our nursing students, our family nurse practitioner program, and our physician assistant studies.”

Who are the types of people who can benefit most from the expanded clinic eligibility guidelines?

“Individuals who work part-time and are not eligible for employer-sponsored health care insurance plans could be eligible,” White-Minnis pointed out. “Or it could be larger families who are struggling to make ends meet.”

“There are times when it’s hard for people to come up with $1,” Carter added. “And no one should have to choose between buying groceries or getting health care and being able to afford medications. The gap that this clinic fills is taking care of those issues for people in this community who need our help.”

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