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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - In the Lake Highlands neighborhood of northeast Dallas, a former school nurse is trying to make a difference.
Dr. Mary Beth Felty turned her concern for medical care for low-income children and families into a non-profit medical clinic.
The Healing Hands Ministries Medical Clinic now treats some 3,000 patients.
Tuesday morning was like most other days for Dr. Felty. During the day she would examine a Dallas refugee newcomer from Burma and treat the leg injury of a diabetic.
Now Dr. Felty says she fortunately doesn’t spend much time worrying about a patient’s ability to pay.
“When we started four years ago, we had four patients. We now have 3,000 patients, and are tracking to have 10,000 visits this year,” explained Janna Gardner, who leads the Healing Hands Clinic
The people receiving care are similar to Martha Mendoza who earns too much money for Medicaid help, but can’t afford health insurance.
The clinic makes sure patient’s financial dilemmas don’t affect their decisions to seek medical care. The clinic charges a fee of $10.
One patient told CBS 11 News, “Todos es aqui es una angel” – which means, ‘everyone here is an angel’.
“We’re really taking care of those non-invisible working poor that don’t have access to healthcare otherwise,” said Gardner. “Because they can’t afford the [insurance] premiums, even if it’s offered at their job.”
The “Healing Hands” part of the clinic comes from the 40 or so doctors, dentists and other medical specialists who volunteer their services at the facility.
Dr. Felty is one of only two paid physicians at the clinic.
The Healing Hands clinic is located in the area of Dallas that has the highest density of Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) participants and where some 60-percent of children receive free or reduced price school lunches.
Since Healing Hands receives no government funding, the ministry relies solely on community volunteers, donors and businesses.