LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the sun sets Monday evening, CHI St. Vincent East closes for the day, but Tuesday will bring more patients through the door.
“We’re able to cater to everyone’s need,” says CHI St. Vincent East Practice Manager LaValerie Smith. “I think a lot of times everyone thinks everyone has health insurance now, in which they really don’t.”
Smith is in charge of the facility, a clinic offering free healthcare services to low-income Little Rock residents.
“I have patients who have been with me as long as I’ve been here and I’ve been here for 24 years, and that’s a long time,” says Smith.
It’s a service that the City of Little Rock pays St. Vincent $175,000 to operate.
The Board of Directors are expected to vote Tuesday on approving money for the next year to keep the service going.
“I think it’s very important,” says Director of Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs Victor Turner.
The service, which is free to low-income residents, is available to people with these incomes:
Turner says the clinic which has been open for nearly 50 years saw thousands of patients last year.
“Just by our numbers alone, there are over 7,000 individuals assisted,” says Turner.
Smith says what’s offered at the clinic is more than just healthcare, it’s dental too.
“You come in for one thing and you may find out that you have a health issue,” says Smith.
The clinic also offers free transportation, which includes picking patients up, bringing them to appointments and driving the patients back home.