A new clinic specializing in medical and mental health services for uninsured children opened Monday in Denton.
First Refuge Ministries, 1701 Broadway St., will provide medical care and counseling services for children, as well as free medication for all ages based on availability, and chiropractic services for adults at little to no cost to the patient, said Brenda Eckel, the medical clinic’s administrator.
Getting the clinic open has been a community effort, Eckel said. The nonprofit received the property for $1 a year, and free labor for renovations and various other donations have helped get the facility up and running.
“Everybody in the community has pitched in and done what they can do — give us discounts or free services — so we’ve been able to come about just because of the community spirit and the desire to help people,” she said.
In November 2010, a small group began researching community needs and found that about 120,000 people in the county are uninsured, and 17 percent of children in the county are uninsured. While there are two clinics already in the area, Eckel said neither focuses on children.
Parents can take their children for clinical or pastoral counseling at the clinic, for $5 a session, or a medical visit for a recommended donation of $25.
If parents cannot pay, the fees are waived, Eckel said.
“We know that the $5 isn’t going to help with too many costs or anything, but it gives dignity to people,” she said. “We also feel like it helps them to be involved in the process. They’re paying for services and they want to get the benefit of the services.”
The clinic’s board of directors wants to expand the services to adults by February of 2014, which Eckel said will be a challenge because adults tend to need more specialized care. In the coming months, the clinic also hopes to add an on-site pharmacist and gain more volunteers, she said.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.