What started as a small operation out of the gymnasium at Memorial Lutheran Church in Katy has grown to a nonprofit organization with more than 50 volunteers that treats an average of nearly 2,000 patients a year. Christ Clinic provides basic medical care to the uninsured and underinsured living in Katy and the surrounding area.
"Christ Clinic is the only service in the community for adults without insurance," said Kara Hill, executive director of the clinic. "That's how we are special to the Katy community. All kinds of people are living here from all kinds of socioeconomic statuses. This tri-county area has one of the highest levels of uninsured residents. We have a very large percentage of our population living without insurance."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in every six Texans is living without health insurance.
"A lot of [uninsured] people will get their basic medical care in the emergency room," said Bill Hinchley, president of the Texas Medical Association. "This clogs our emergency rooms for truly emergent care."
In response to overburdened ERs in the area, Christ Clinic aims to provide all treatments and services typical of a hospital or emergency room. For the uninsured, medical costs are often incurred by the community, Hill said.
"The 2,000 people we see every year would be in our emergency rooms if it wasn't for us here," she said. "It saves them, and it saves the community a profound amount of cost."
Christ Clinic moved to its First Street location in Downtown Katy in 2006 after more than five years of operating in Memorial Lutheran. The organization—which was established as a nonprofit in 2010—has since expanded its services to include preventative and chronic care, free or discounted immunizations and health and nutrition classes.
Apart from nine full- and part-time staff members, Christ Clinic is run by volunteers, which include nurses, doctors, clerks, students and residents from throughout Houston. A recent partnership between the clinic and Katy ISD's Miller Career and Technology Center will offer volunteer opportunities to KISD students taking certain courses.
"Community and volunteer participation allow for the clinic to run more cost effectively and increase capacity for people in need of medical services," Hill said.
Various partnerships with local and regional hospitals, churches and medical professionals have allowed Christ Clinic to expand its ability to assist Katy residents in need, Hill said.
"The Katy community has grown so fast," she said. "It's hard sometimes for communities to catch up to that growth when it comes to people living in poverty. It's an integrated social problem."
5504 First St.