Free health clinic asking for help from community - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Free health clinic asking for help from community

Jones and Weirman say they see more patients because of rising healthcare costs. (Photo source: WLOX) Jones and Weirman say they see more patients because of rising healthcare costs. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Bethel Free Health Clinic in Biloxi has been serving thousands of people on the Coast for more than a decade.

But according to director Judy Jones, keeping the doors open hasn't been easy.

"We have had problems financially and we skimp by," said Jones.

Part of that skimping by includes Jones forgoing a salary for the past year; even after stepping in to work as a nurse on many occasions. That same mentality can be found all throughout the clinic.

"We try our hardest to make sure people in need get what they need," said Dr. Bob Weierman, who began treating patients at the clinic in 2015.

Weierman was recently able to secure an $8,000 donation from past and present students of his alma mater, Xavier High School in New York.

The donation is going towards new technology for the clinic, but Weierman and Jones say more is needed. According to Jones, more and more people are walking through her door because cost of insurance has gotten out of control due to the current healthcare law.

"It was supposed to be ACA, Affordable Care Act, and it got unaffordable," said Jones.

Jones, who has high hopes for the incoming administration, says President-elect Trump has given her confidence that healthcare will become more affordable.

"I look very forward to what he's got to offer," she said.

Patients agree with her optimism.

"I hope it gets better so working class people can afford health insurance, because a lot of people nowadays can't afford it," said Lillie Hillard.

Affordable health insurance could mean less people relying on free health care, reducing some of the pressure that clinics like Bethel face every day. Jones says a big help for the clinic right now would be more nursing staff, as well as a general financial need.

To find out more about Bethel Free Health Clinic, call 228-594-3640, or send an email at bethelkatclinic@gmail.com. You can also visit the clinic's website at www.bethelfreeclinic.org

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