LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Thousands of people in Kentuckiana are without healthcare insurance and many are choosing not to get medical attention because they simply can't afford it.
But one church is trying to change that by opening a completely free community clinic. The Family Community Clinic is a project two years in the making. It's a joint operation between St. Joseph's Catholic Church and a dozen healthcare volunteers. They say this new free clinic comes at a time of great need in Kentuckiana for those without health insurance.
"Well, the problem with people who don't have insurance, is that they do not seek help in the early stages of their illness," said Kathie Lepping, a parish nurse who is heavily involved with the clinic. "This will at least spotlight areas of concern."
The Urban Institute says nearly 700,000 people in Kentucky are currently living without health insurance.
On Saturday, dozens of medical volunteers and St. Joseph's church are hoping to help them by opening the city's newest free community health clinic.
Clinic manager Mary Lee Eady says the clinic is part of the church's vision of helping the community.
"It was a vision of our pastor at Saint Joseph's to give something back to the community and it just fell into place," Eady said. "We had the space that was available to be renovated, we had people that were interested in making it happen, and it just all came together."
Lepping says it took two years, thousands of dollars in donations and countless man hours for the Family Community Clinic to become reality.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer attended the opening ceremony of the clinic, which is located in the basement of the St. Joseph's.
"Here in the basement of a school where we're gonna help people who don't have health insurance have a healthy life," Fischer said. "Of course all of this is a display of the wonderful compassion that we have for the community, all of the tremendous leaders involved."
Eady said the free clinic is set up for doctors and nurses to provide basic healthcare for anyone in Kentuckiana without health insurance
Eady says the clinic is for "things that can easily be treated on one visit. Nothing chronic. No diabetes, no high blood pressure, nothing that needs to be followed long term. Our goal is to see people who have things like sinus infections, strep throat, flu, bronchitis."
Lepping, who remembers has been a case worker for Norton Hospital for 28 years, and a practicing for 35 years, remembers lots of people with no insurance.
"I can't tell you how many people I worked with who did not have insurance and put off illness symptoms until it became so advanced that many of them would have to mortgage their houses to pay for it, Lepping said.
The clinic at 1406 east Washington Street, will be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon on a first come, first served basis.
You can reach the clinic by phone at (502) 554-7248
Anyone in Kentuckiana is welcome at the clinic. The only requirement is that you have no health insurance.