Having seen its first patients in late October, the Free Children’s Walk-In Clinic at Feed My Sheep in Temple has developed a format it’s comfortable with.
The next clinic will be this Saturday.
Dr. Stephen Ponder, pediatric endocrinologist at McLane Children’s Specialty Clinic, said he really didn’t know what to expect, because this was his first venture into this type of clinic.
The clinic schedule through June 2016 is 10a.m. to noon, Saturdays, Jan. 16, Feb. 6, March 5, March 19, April 9, May 7, May 28 and June 25. Sign up begins at 9:30 a.m.
The clinic offers sick child visits, vaccinations, and children’s hearing, vision and dental screenings.
The clinic is located at 613 S. Third St. in Temple on the corner of South Third and West Avenue G.
The response for the children’s clinic has been incredible, with donations arriving from everywhere, along with an abundance of volunteers, Ponder said.
“The next phase is to increase awareness of the clinic,” he said.
Felicia Holland, a Feed My Sheep and Children’s Clinic volunteer, said thousands of fliers about the children’s clinic have gone out to area school districts. There is a liaison at Temple schools who is working to get the word out.
Information has gone out to rural areas and the Bell County Health District knows to pass along information about the children’s clinic, Holland said. Any group that works with low-income residents is asked to share details about the effort.
Attendance has been growing each time the clinic is held, but the aim remains the same, to reach more families, she said.
“A lot of the kiddos are coming in for vaccinations because they can’t stay in school without them,” Holland said.
Holland said she does whatever is needed on clinic days, whether it’s hunting down supplies or answering questions.
A lot of people just assume children are insured, no matter what, she said.
“They’re not,” Holland said.
Depending on the family income, the child may or may not qualify for Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid, she said. Some of those children are in limbo between Medicaid and traditional insurance.
There are parents who are hesitant to sign their children up for health insurance, even if the youngster qualifies, especially if mom or dad aren’t in the country legally.
“They are scared to go and apply,” Holland said.
The clinic wants to help those families who are in need and maybe haven’t qualified for another program, or they just need help, she said.
The clinic is able to get some of its patients free medications, Holland said. The clinic provides some adult vaccinations for those without insurance.
“We really excited about serving these kiddos,” she said.