Medical help offered for uninsured offered in Cedar Park
From the outside, Samaritan Health Ministries does not resemble a traditional doctor's office. The baby blue mobile home behind the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Cedar Park is staffed almost entirely by volunteer physicians, nurses and other professionals.
But the view from inside the nonprofit more closely resembles a clinic, in large part because of recent donations that include new flooring, chairs, desks, computers and cubicle walls. Samaritan Health Ministries is supported financially through the St. David's Foundation, the United Way of Williamson County, local churches and other organizations, but Executive Director Erika Pratt said supply donations come primarily from the community.
"Sometimes you've got to reach out and tell folks what is needed, and as we started reaching out, we had a lot of people respond," Pratt said. "When you come to this place, meet the people and see what's going on here, I think it gives you a different feeling of what's happening."
From its unconventional venue, the decade-old nonprofit serves uninsured adults and children in the community, regardless of income, for a sliding scale fee of $10–$40 per visit based on income and family size. Pratt said some patients are unemployed without a health insurance plan, although others have jobs but cannot afford insurance premiums.
"The reason we serve that population is because we don't feel like they have another resource," she said. "I'm very passionate about the belief that it shouldn't matter if you have insurance or a certain kind of job or the right amount of money. People need to have access to quality health care."
Samaritan Health Ministries provides preventative, chronic illness and dental services, medicine and supplies as well as a monthly mental health clinic. Volunteers and donations make the nonprofit successful, Pratt said, but with limited resources, even patients pitch in around the clinic.
"The thing is, if they are helping me and I can help them, well, I should help them," said Raul De Lara, who has utilized Samaritan Health Ministries the past nine years.
De Lara said the staff welcomed him and his family from the beginning, so he wanted to return the favor.
"I stripped the flooring in the bathroom; I put in new floors, and I painted the walls," he said. "I started doing some work with whatever I can."
Samaritan Health Ministries needs
- Defibrillator ($1,750)
- Spot monitor ($2,635)
- Spirometer ($1,810)
- 8 hand sanitizer dispensers ($10.92 each)
- 4 towel dispensers ($56.68 each)
- 4 provider stools ($104.61 each)
- Exam table with top ($1,150)
- Replacement exam table top ($578.14)
- 4 diagnostic sets ($1,086 each)
Samaritan Health Ministries, 700A W. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park, 331-5828, www.theshm.org