WMBD/WYZZ TV - PEORIA -- With the debate boiling over at the capitol about state funding and health care, there a bright spot in Peoria's East Bluff. A health clinic has opened its doors. On day one, its hoping it can begin an expansion.
Doctor Jim Barnett says when it comes to medical care, you can't just set up shop anywhere. He says a doctor's duty is to set up shop where the need is greatest.
"I had a desire to sever ever since I was a young boy growing up in Africa."
Barnett continued his mission to serve in Peoria. He joined the clinic after noticing a large under-served community in the East Bluff.
"Lots of diabetics, hypertension, chronic medical illnesses that need attention that's why I'm here."
But Barnett and the clinic's CEO almost had their dreams cut short. Joan Krupa says, "The project was in question last December."
The clinic was counting on federal funding. Congress cut the budget, and hope was almost lost. Until Krupa says, "An anonymous donor stepped forward and gave us the funds that would give us the confidence we need to go forward."
... $200,000 worth of confidence to go forward! The community chipped in an additional $100,000, and the state threw in a three year operating grant. Hoping to help 1,500 patients this year; most of them uninsured.
If everything goes as planned the clinic should open up a dental clinic right next door in this room. But the clinic will need to raise a half million to open it.
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