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First-rate Health Care for Missouri Families

Nothing is more imperative than a person’s health, and Missourians deserve quality health care services that will help put them on track to wellness, without breaking their bank account. My heart goes out to children, in particular, who are more vulnerable and sometimes easily susceptible to illness and injury. A child can easily catch a bad flu bug that’s going around school, or break an arm trying to climb a tree. I’d like to highlight health care programs available in our area of the state that can help ensure children and families achieve a better sense of comfort and security in life, and not have to worry as much about basic health care needs.

Every state in our country has the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides free or low-cost health coverage for more than 7 million children up to age 19. According to a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children who come from families with incomes up to $44,100 a year (for a family of four) are likely to be eligible for coverage. CHIP helps ensure children can receive routine checkups, immunizations, and dental care, which lifts a tremendous burden on young ones’ parents. Missouri’s program for children’s health care is MO HealthNet for Kids. Young ones are eligible for the program if they, among other requirements, are under 19 years of age, apply for a Social Security number, live in Missouri and intend to remain in the state, and if a child’s parent cooperates with Child Support Enforcement (CSE) in the pursuit of medical support. You can read about children’s eligibility for the program based on net family incomes by clicking here. Visit www.dss.mo.gov/mhk/appl.htm to complete an application form for your child online, or to download and print an application for MO HealthNet.

Families in need can also visit Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) to access health care services. These centers are types of providers defined by Medicare and Medicaid statutes and provide primary care services for people of all ages. Some of the services a FQHC may offer include dental services, mental health and substance abuse services, transportation services necessary for sufficient patient care, and hospital and specialty care.

According to 2011 data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Missouri has approximately 21 FQHCs available for citizens. A non-profit clinic in our area that provides family practice and urgent care services is the Fordland Clinic, located in Fordland, Mo. On its website, the Fordland Clinic states that its goal is to remove barriers to receiving quality health care, and accepts a variety of insurance policies, Medicaid and Medicare, and offers a sliding fee scale to help patients who don’t have insurance. To apply, patients must fill out an application and present proof of income, which can include a tax return statement. You can click here for more information about this sliding fee scale. Please call 417-767-2273 to inquire about medical services, and 417-767-2100 for dental services at Fordland Clinic.

Here are some other health centers in our community that can provide services for you and your family:

Southern Missouri Community Health Center Thayer Clinic (Medical and Dental)
Highway 63 North
Thayer, MO 65791
Phone: 417-264-2990 (medical); 417-264-3204 (dental)

Southern Missouri Community Health Center West Plains Clinic (Medical and Dental)
1137 Independence Dr.
West Plains, MO 65775
Phone: 417-255-8464 (medical); 417-255-8213 (dental)

Missouri Ozarks Community Health — Gainesville
201 S. Elm St.
Gainesville, MO 65655
Phone: 417-679-2775

Your health is priceless, and as a parent, I know our children’s health and happiness is on the top of our priority lists. I hope the health care services listed in this column provide some guidance and assistance. If you have any questions about accessing health care services in our community, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at 573-751-1882.

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