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KC CARE expands services for those who need it in Kansas City

Thursday, August 13, 2015

KC CARE Clinic expands services for those who need it in Kansas City

One of the nation’s largest charitable care clinics is designated a Federally Qualified Health Center as a New Access Point under the Affordable Care Act and a Patient-Centered Medical Home.


 Kansas City, MO. (August 11, 2015) – The Kansas City CARE Clinic (formerly the Kansas City Free Health Clinic), a private, nonprofit community health center, today announced it has been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a Federally Qualified Health Center or “FQHC.” In receiving this designation, the Clinic will receive annual federal funds of approximately $650,000, which will greatly expand its capacity to provide high-quality primary care for those who need it in the Kansas City region. The Clinic now offers pediatric care in addition to services to senior citizens and those on Medicare/Medicaid.

 News of this designation arrived yesterday shortly after U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $169 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 266 new health center sites in 46 states for the delivery of comprehensive primary healthcare services in communities that need them most. These new health centers are projected to increase access to healthcare for nearly 1.2 million patients nationwide, adding to the more than 700 new health center sites supported through the Affordable Care Act.

 “The Kansas City CARE Clinic has provided critical community health services in the Kansas City area for more than four decades,” said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. “I am pleased that they have earned status as a fully-fledged FQHC. The Affordable Care Act established $11 billion in additional funding to increase and expand the operation and construction of health centers throughout the nation. This is a great opportunity to ensure we are taking care of the area’s most vulnerable.”

 As a foremost safety net provider in the Kansas City metro for more than 44 years, the KC CARE Clinic has always been committed to providing high-quality, culturally competent primary care and reducing health disparities in the underinsured and uninsured populations. With nearly 250,000 individuals estimated to need access to primary care in the Kansas City metro, the KC CARE Clinic views itself as a leader in HIV services and an essential regional partner, collaborating for years with the area’s other FQHCs, community safety net clinics, healthcare providers, regional foundations, and civic leaders to help address this larger community need.

 Last week the Clinic also received notification that is has been recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality – their standards were established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.

 “The safety net for Kansas City is now stronger with the Clinic becoming both an FQHC and a Patient-Centered Medical Home” said Sheri Wood, Chief Executive Officer of the KC CARE Clinic. “These significant designations are the next steps in our evolution as we respond to the rapidly changing healthcare environment that exists today.  We look forward to continuing to adapt and change over the coming years with our mission of promoting health and wellness by providing quality care, access, research and education to the underserved and all people in our community. This really is the culmination of years of work that reaffirm our commitment to our patients and their families.” 

The Clinic has always evolved and adapted to change in its 44-year history.  Originally founded as the Westport Free Health Clinic, the name was changed in 1986 to the Kansas City Free Health Clinic when it moved out of the heart of Westport.  Its adaptation to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 90’s helped establish the clinic as one of the leading clinics in the country. In 2011, Anticipating the change in healthcare, the clinic adopted a change in business model moving from a free clinic to a charitable clinic to provide care for those with and without insurance.  Subsequently the name changed to the Kansas City CARE Clinic.  “Change has always been at the heart of what we do,” said Wood. “What stays the same is our commitment to those who need care.”

“Even before today’s exciting announcement, we have been working for the last several years to make strategic changes to accommodate the changes in healthcare – anticipating that some of our patients may gain access to coverage for care,“ said Mark Nuss, Board Chair of the KC CARE Clinic. “The FQHC designation creates the potential for us to greatly expand our mission even more and help meet our community’s unmet healthcare needs. I’d like to thank the board and Clinic’s leadership team for their hard work, dedication and vision and our many community partners for their continued support.”

 The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ designation announcement of the Kansas City CARE Clinic (formerly the Kansas City Free Health Clinic), among the other 266 New Access Point grant award winners, can be viewed here:

 About the Kansas City Free Health Clinic/the Kansas City CARE Clinic:

The Kansas City Free Health/CARE Clinic is one of the oldest and largest charitable care clinics in the nation. Founded in 1971, the Clinic provides Care, Access, Research & Education for the underserved and all in the Kansas City community. The Kansas City CARE Clinic’s clinical services include adult general primary care, HIV primary care, pediatric care, oral healthcare, and behavioral health and prevention services. With a staff of more than 110 and more than 900 dedicated volunteers, the Clinic provides healthcare, education, and support for more than 9,000 individuals with nearly 18,000 clinical patient appointments and more than 45,000 case management, education & prevention and testing encounters.  The mission of the Kansas City CARE Clinic is to promote health and wellness by providing quality care, access, research and education to the underserved and all people in our community.

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