Mission Outreach making healthcare available to those in need

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Healthcare now-a-days is not cheap. If you don't have health insurance, being able to afford a trip to the doctor can be tough. But, a charitable medical clinic in Paragould is making healthcare more available to those without coverage. It's all made possible by those offering their time to help.

For the past two years, Karen Faulkner has benefited from the services provided through the Mission Outreach Charitable Clinic. She's just one of 600 patients already seen this year.

"It's great for somebody that doesn't have insurance, like myself. And when I first started coming in here, I had no income either. I had high blood pressure. I was able to come here, get my blood pressure checked, get my medicine and I've been here for a couple different things.," said Faulkner.

The spiritually based clinic has been up and running for just over four years. Doctor Albert Fonticiella has been a volunteer from the get-go.

"God's been good to us. I believe this is really what he wants us to be doing with medicine and helping others. Not just with medicine, but with life in general," said Fonticiella.

It's a full service clinic equip with exam rooms, lab, and it's own pharmacy. All run by those giving their time to help.

"We have over 150 volunteers. They don't expect anything, but to come over here and help. We really enjoying seeing a smile and face of a person who wouldn't normally have a smile because they couldn't get healthcare," said Fonticiella.

The clinic takes place twice a month, and sees more than 30 patients each go around. Not just in Paragould, but the surrounding areas. Fonticiella says it's clear, that times are still tough.

"More unemployment, factories shutting down. Individuals that last week were fully covered with insurance plans. Now, they're in a position where they can't afford their diabetic medications, their heart medicines. The need is crazy. Unfortunately, we're just not able to keep up with the need," said Fonticiella.

As for Faulkner, she's just thankful for the help she can get. "It's security. I know if something goes wrong, then I can make an appointment and I can come here and I don't just have to be sick," said Faulkner.

The Crowley's Ridge Rural Health Coalition has also partnered with the clinic to help provide prescription assistance. Funds to operate the facility comes from the Arkansas Department of Rural Health and contributions from the community. If you would like information about their services just go to http://www.missionoutreachnea.com/index.htm