For many, a church is a good place to help heal the mind and soul. But thanks to an altruistic doctor and her team, a church in Lee’s Summit also offers aid for the body.
Since November, the New Springs Community Church has operated a health clinic that offers free doctor visits and a number of treatments at no cost.
Open the third Sunday of each month, patients of all ages, and from across the metro, are seen by medical professionals on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The need for this in our community is huge,” said the clinic’s founder and director, Laura Voss, a family physician.
“A lot of our patients work and have insurance, but have a hard time meeting the high deductibles of their plans. They may be between jobs or simply don’t have insurance.”
Voss saw the need and envisioned this clinic nearly four years ago when she was inspired by the Sojourner Clinic, where she volunteered for five years.
Sojourner, operated by UMKC medical students, is a mobile medical clinic held at the Grand Avenue Temple. Student volunteers set it up at and take it down every Sunday.
Acting on her inspiration to open a similar clinic, Voss presented the idea to New Springs’ Pastor Corey McDonald.
“He really liked the idea but didn’t want us to have to take it down each week, so he gave us a room in the church dedicated to the clinic.”
To launch the project, both St. Luke’s East Hospital and Lee’s Summit Hospital offered a number of donations. The clinic also received a grant from the Greater Lee’s Summit Health Care Foundation.
The clinic is staffed by an all-volunteer team and all medical supplies are donated.
Volunteers include physicians, physician’s assistants, medical students, nurses and greeters. The clinic also offers free child care for parents.
Cindy Aldrige, a nurse practitioner, was a first-time volunteer at the recent March clinic.
“I’ve always wanted to give back and there’s a huge need in the community for this,” she said “It’s always been a passion of mine to do something like this.”
Aldrige works at Lee’s Summit Physician’s Group, which equipped her with donated medical supplies. The group will also be sending additional volunteers to the clinic in the future.
During those busy third Sundays of the month, the clinic sees nearly three dozen patients whose circumstances are all unique.
“We don’t require proof of income, employment, or other verifications. We are red-tape and hassle-free. If you show up, we’ll treat you,” Voss said.
Patients are treated for a variety of conditions, including diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. The clinic also provides sports physicals for students and general wound care.
Voss and her staff have a holistic, preventive approach to medical care. In December, free mammograms were offered. During the March clinic, a registered dietician presented a demonstration on healthy cooking in the church’s kitchen.
In addition, the clinic also provides some laboratory services, such as cholesterol and blood sugar screening, free of charge.
As with other clinics, the staff maintains confidential medical records for patients.
When Voss discovers a medical condition that can’t be treated at the clinic, she completes an initial diagnosis, then refers the patient to another physician. She partners with a number of area doctors who work with patients who have financial problems.
Don Williams is one of the patients Voss is seeing for a diagnosis. Sunday was his third visit to the clinic.
“I don’t have insurance and I’m looking for answers to problems I’ve been having,” said Williams, a small-business owner from Knob Noster.
“We’re looking at the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. I went to a community health center, but they could only go so far.”
Williams has nothing but good things to say about the clinic.
“Dr. Voss is an awesome doctor.”
While caring for her current patients, Voss also has eye on the clinic’s future.
“I would love to expand the days per month we’re open and offer more services, but a lot of that will depend on getting more volunteers, including doctors and nurses.”
Voss hopes to bring specialists on board in orthopedic sports, cardiology, endocrinology and other areas. She also like to add educational classes, and offer more services in the area of psychology.
New Springs Community Church is at 1800 N.E. Independence Avenue in Lee’s Summit. For more information about the clinic, visit https://www.newspringsclinic.org or call 816-246-7474.