KCUR News
11:40 am
Tue September 1, 2009

Strained Clinics Expand Hours

Kansas City, MO – Safety net clinics across the metro are facing a growing demand for services, but often have to turn people away because they're full.

Now, a new initiative is underway to help places accommodate more patients.

Starting this fall, several area clinics will be adding regular evening and weekend hours.

Amanda Lowe, with the Health Partnership of Johnson County, says the extended schedule is crucial for her clinic because more people are now turning there for care, and are often doing so with increasingly neglected chronic health problems.

"The harsh reality is that patients are sicker, and oftentimes we're finding that they're sicker because they've gone without health care," Lowe explained. "If they had had access to health care earlier, these disease states may not have progressed as far as they have, and they may not have the number of complications that they're showing up with."

Lowe says the extra hours will allow the clinic to increase its appointment slots by about thirty percent compared to last year, though she says demand for services is still likely to exceed the clinic's capacity.

She also says the evening and weekend appointments will better serve people who work during the day.

The region's two main health care foundations are funding the expanded schedules at various clinics across the metro over the next year.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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