NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – Church leaders and doctors in Jackson County told Region 8 News Wednesday they're in the process of starting a Christian based community health care clinic for the chronically ill and underserved. According to Alisa Digby, Vice Chair of the Christian Community Clinic of Jackson County, more than 1,000 families do not have medical insurance.
"There are millions and millions of people in America who have no insurance, but because of all the things that are going on with health care, nobody knows what's going to happen. This organization will help those that are in our area," said Digby.
According to Rev. Jimmy Mosby of the Umsted Memorial United Methodist Church, his patrons have recognized the need for free health screenings for low income families. Several churches will hold two fundraisers before the health clinic opens March 25th.
"We have six huge rooms that aren't being used at the time and as part of our contribution to the clinic, we're loaning this to the clinic for one calendar year," said Mosby. "I've come in contact with people that cannot go to a medical doctor for the common cold, so there's a tremendous need."
Digby told Region 8 News the organization is trying to raise money and supplies to start the clinic. Several medical doctors have expressed interest in the project, Digby said.
The project came about when Dr. Guilford Dudley and his wife Retha Dudley saw a need for low to no cost health screenings in Newport.
"We first found out in the year 2004 that they opened up a charter of all the Christian clinics, but the ones that have started out small, just like us, small buildings, small whatever, they've developed into wonderful things," said Digby.
Jamie Darling, a member of the CCCJC Board of Directors, said the organization is in the process of becoming non-profit, which is required by law.
"Just when we started, we heard there were 600 families that were in need. As of now, we know there are at least 1,000 citizens in our community in this county that need our service," said Digby.
Digby said she lost her medical coverage when she lost her job due to an illness in the family. She had to quit taking care of her mother's sickness.
"It wasn't because I couldn't work or didn't work. It wasn't because of Medicare or Medicaid. There are some of us who slip through the cracks and don't have enough money to pay for medical insurance," said Digby. "We are citizens and we help each other, but what is really amazing to me is that the volunteers are people from local churches from all over, not just one particular denomination."
According to CCCJC's mission statement, the organization is "to provide health care with spiritual support to those of our community who are not being served."
Darling said the organization needs medical supplies, building supplies, office furniture and other equipment to help start screenings.
"This will be basic services for people with blood pressure, diabetes, and just general problems like colds," said Darling. "There is a high poverty level and so there are a lot of people who are uninsured and lots of working poor people who can't afford health insurance."