The Good Shepherd Clinic in Spearfish helps residents of the Northern Black Hills that do not have health insurance get access to basic health care services. SDPB’s Amy Varland has the story on how volunteers in South Dakota’s medical profession are lending their talents to charity.
Healthcare, or the lack thereof for some, is a serious issue for many Americans. Despite government and workplace healthcare plans, some of the most basic health care services remain a luxury for many.
Kay Cox is the President of the Good Shepherd Clinic in Spearfish – a free walk-in clinic for people in the Northern Black Hills that meet income guidelines and don’t have health insurance.
“About half of our patients are employed but they don’t have insurance and they just can’t afford insurance, they can’t afford the medical care. We’ve had people come in that were working that had to quit because of their medical concerns and once were able to diagnose them and get them on a treatment plan they were able to return to work,” says Cox.
Staff at the Good Shepherd Clinic performs only non-invasive treatments, but Cox says there are many people who can benefit.
She says nearly 140 local, insured health professionals from a variety of fields volunteer their services.
“We have a lot of people with heart disease, with diabetes, we have coughs and colds, we have people with mental health issues, pretty much everything along the spectrum. We’ve had people come in with broken legs, and our doctors can look at it but then they refer them over to the clinic or to the hospital, and if those folks qualify for the Regional Health’s financial aid, then their testing and whatever else is at no charge to them,” says Cox.
Items like shampoo and blankets are also available, as is assistance with some co-pays, prescriptions, and transportation.
Cox says the Good Shepherd Clinic has been serving patients in the northern Black Hills for the last six years and the need is still present.
The Good Shepherd Clinic is also staffed by volunteers from area churches and is open most Mondays at 6:00 pm.
Patients are seen on a first-come first-served basis. Services are limited to 22 people.