When Kelly Coughlin and Vikki Parker began looking for a way to provide free or low-cost medical care to patrons of A Woman’s Place Pregnancy Resource Center (where Parker is executive director), their search came up short. Little did they know that Dr. Jason Merrick of Cabot Medical Care and Dr. Matt Moudy of Hill & Moudy Family Dentistry were recruiting Lonoke County doctors for a similar purpose. When Merrick and Coughlin put their heads together, the Lonoke County Christian Clinic was born, and despite numerous setbacks, the Clinic—the largest permanent facility of its kind in the state—is set to open this fall.
The Clinic will offer basic medical and dental services, such as tooth extractions, X-ray services, general medical care, a pharmacy, and health education to Lonoke County residents who don’t have health insurance, do not receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits, and meet certain income requirements.
According to Coughlin, who serves on the Clinic’s board, more than 10,000 Lonoke County residents will likely qualify for services. The clinic will be open twice each month for general medical needs, while the pharmacy will be open one day per week. Appointments will be scheduled for dental services. All services are free, but a $5 donation is suggested. Eventually, the hope is to eventually add specialized services targeting wound care, diabetes, women’s health concerns and heart health.
The clinic is housed in a renovated Cabot Parks & Recreation gym located at 502 Richie Road. The transformation of the gym began several years ago, and despite a drop in donations due to general economic decline, work has proceeded thanks to volunteer labor from area churches and individuals. According to Coughlin, the doctors involved have been the key to bringing the clinic to fruition. At the same time, “The most amazing part is that one person can’t claim that this is their project. The whole community has taken part,” Coughlin said.
While the clinic is set to open, many needs still remain, including donations of money and volunteer time. Medical volunteers are needed, including nurses and pharmacists, and non-medical volunteers for administrative work, cleaning, maintenance, and hospitality are needed as well. Anyone wishing to volunteer can download an application at LonokeCountyChristianClinic.com or contact Coughlin at Kelly@ReNewCabot.org for more information.
Despite the obvious medical and dental care that will become available to Lonoke County’s most needy, Coughlin sees other benefits to the community: “This clinic has already brought the community together to help others and to share the love of Christ.”