The Mission Clinic of Berryville extended its formerly cramped lobby to provide a more comfortable space for sick and ailing patients, officials said.
The Mission Clinic received a $26,000 grant from Mercy Hospital- Berryville. The first half was received in June and covered the first phase of construction. These funds covered the cost to expand the lobby, which was completed Oct. 5. The clinic also enclosed the carport to add a storage area for the pharmacy, and a new nurse's station was built in the old waiting room.
Phase Two of the construction will begin after the second half of the grant is distributed, and it will cover general operating costs for the facility.
"We want to stretch the money we receive as best we can," said Mission Clinic Physician Dr. Kevin Richtor. "None of the money will go to salaries since we all donate our time to the clinic -- it's all for the community."
The clinic treats patients with acute illnesses such as bronchitis and sinus infections, as well as those with chronic conditions that require ongoing monitoring, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
"Even if you have a job, often times you cannot afford the insurance through your employer, and we want to be there for the people who can't get basic health care," Richtor said.
For patients who have ongoing medical conditions, the Mission Clinic helps them get on a Patient Assistance Program that will help lower -- or sometimes eliminate -- the cost for medications for uninsured or the under-insured.
Mercy Hospital-Berryville also provides assistance with vouchers to the clinic so if a patient needs an X-ray or lab work, it can be done at no cost to the patient.
"Mercy has been so instrumental to the clinic with their contributions," Richtor said. "If it weren't for them, this would be much harder."
The doctors and staff at the clinic donate their time to the patients' care, and all grants and donations are used to pay general operating costs to keep the clinic open.
"No matter how much we grow, we will always have needs, and we will always strive to give quality care, no matter what," Richtor added. "Right now we are focused on patient needs -- if we don't have it, we work with other organizations to get it."
Each month, the Mission Clinic is open on the first and third Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. Another free health care clinic located in Eureka Springs, The Echo Clinic, offers free appointments during the second and fourth week of the month. That is good news for Carroll Countains, because it means that each week of the month there is a free clinic for the sick.
In 2013, the Mission Clinic will celebrate 20 years of service to Carroll County.
Donations are accepted to cover general operating costs for each month through the Adopt-a-Clinic program, which allows a donor to pledge a payment each month for an extended period of time.
For more information about donating contact the Mission Clinic at 870-423-5363 or visit http://themissionclinic.blogspot.com/. The clinic is located at 700 Main Street in Berryville.