Safety Net Clinic To Reopen Facility In Quindaro Neighborhood

Jul 24, 2017

Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care, a safety net clinic in Kansas City, Kansas, will reopen its Quindaro facility after several years’ hiatus.

The satellite clinic will be located in a church building owned by Family Health Care. Initially, it will be open a couple of half-days per week and, depending on demand, may increase its hours of operation.

The building houses Faith Lutheran Church, which meets upstairs.

Quindaro, in the northeast part of Kansas City, Kansas,  has some of the most vulnerable medical populations in the metropolitan area, including a disproportionate share of Hmong, Somali and Burmese immigrants.

More than half its residents have incomes below the federal poverty level and nearly a quarter have incomes less than half of the poverty level.

“It’s definitely one of the neediest areas in the community,” says Dr. Sharon Lee, founder and CEO of Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care. “We felt like we were doing an important service there before.”

Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care originally opened the satellite facility in 2009 after a federally supported health center left the area. It was staffed by a doctor and a nurse practitioner.

But the nurse practitioner was also a priest, Lee says, and he was assigned by the church hierarchy to Denver, leaving the facility short-handed. It closed in late 2013.

Now, Lee says, “we’re back to having enough staffing, enough provider staff, to make this an option.”

“I know there’s a need in that area,” Lee says. “I know that when we stopped providing services there, we had a number of people who would come to the primary clinic on the bus. But it’s an arduous trip. It’s hard for people to do that.”

Before it closed, most of the Quindaro clinic’s patients walked or used public transportation to get there. For a brief period, it was open during evening hours, but patients were reluctant to go to a relatively isolated area after dark.

Wesley McKain, program supervisor of Healthy Communities Wyandotte, says Quindaro “is a very medically underserved area.” There are other safety net clinics in the wider general area, including Swope Health West, Duchesne Clinic and Turner House Children’s Clinic, but they’re not easily accessible to residents of the neighborhood.

“It’s a very low-income area with transportation access issues,” McKain says. “So having a clinic in that area is very important.” 

Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.