For almost 10 years now, Crossroads Clinic, now located in Lake Saint Louis, has been providing free medical care to those who need and qualify for it.
Now, Crossroads is working to expand its coverage and help patients up into the Troy area.
“We’ve been trying to reach Troy more. We do get patients from there, but not like we should, considering the uninsured that are there,” Cheryl Moellenhoff said. Moellenhoff is a nurse with Crossroads and is a past president of the board.
Crossroads Clinic is located in the First Bank Building at 10714 Veterans Memorial Parkway in Lake Saint Louis.
The original idea for Crossroads came from Maimuna Baig, MD, who is not only a founding board member of Crossroads but also the medical director.
“She was very concerned, talking to her patients, about the number of them that were uninsured. So one thing led to another and Volunteers in Medicine was born,” Moellenhoff said.
Crossroads serves residents of western Saint Charles County, Lincoln County, Warren County and Montgomery County.
The age range is 18-64.
“We look at their household income that has to be at or below 200 – percent of the federal poverty. It’s adjusted for the number of folks in the household. And we look at their residence. I usually say, we carry about 1,000 lives: half of that being inactive, half of that being active. So, if you’re in that age group and you don’t have insurance and you can’t afford a doc, we are the place you want to contact,” Moellenhoff said.
Susan Baker, a registered nurse and office administrator with Crossroads, said that they have been seeing a lot of people who are just younger than Medicare age but are retired or no longer healthy enough to work. Crossroads fills in the gap between when they had to stop working and when Medicare will kick in for them.
Moellenhoff pointed out that people get a job and they are happy but then they might lose that job. They see people that need Crossroads, then don’t need them and then maybe need them again.
But Crossroads provides a vital service where there aren’t many clinics like it out there providing such comprehensive free care.
And a service like this, Moellenhoff believes, can increase productivity in the workplace and in life.
“A community will be as healthy as its members are,” Moellenhoff said. “If their insurance is covered, they’re not so stressed, they’re not so anxious. They are healthy. They have more days at work.”
And community is a perfect word to describe what allows Crossroads to operate in the first place. A big part of the ability to provide free care is the relationships Crossroads has built with pharmaceutical companies and other health care providers.
“Even though we may look like we are standalone, if you are our patient, we would make sure you get what you need. But it’s this community of businesses and other folks that financially make all of this possible,” Moellenhoff said. “Everything we do here is free. There is no charge for what we do here. Over time, we figured out how to interact with the pharmaceutical companies, get a lot of medicines free for our patients. There are a lot of specialist doctors that see out patients and charge little to nothing.”
Some of the volunteers at Crossroads are pharmacists, which helps in that process.
One of the doctors volunteering his service is Pete Montgomery. Montgomery is also the president of the board.
“I have a private practice here in Wentzville and I see all the time that people lose their jobs and then they’ve got no insurance,” Montgomery said. He said that he doesn’t want to lose them as patients, because of the relationship that has been built between them, so he is able to see those patients in that situation at Crossroads.
“I’ve had patients I see here get a job and get insurance and then I see them at my office,” Montgomery said. “I care about my patients, I don’t want to lose them just because they lose insurance. I am taking care of serious medical problems. We do maintenance medicine, which is huge, people are getting screens for cancer, mammograms, and colonoscopies. We are detecting skin cancer.”
Moellenhoff added that they are screening for Hepatitis C now.
“With the donations from hospitals – SSM, BJC, Mercy – they are all charitable hospitals and they help us with free lab testing, free CAT scans, MRIs, even free use of their surgical suites. We have surgeons who will do surgeries for free, at no cost to the patient. The hospital eats the cost. We’ve had people have neck surgery, back surgery and gallbladder surgery and it’s taken care of. Even full breast cancer care,” Montgomery said.
What Montgomery was really stressing was that he and the Crossroads staff aren’t providing any different care than they would get anywhere else but that it is just there for the people who need it the most.
Baker added that they also have a physical therapist, a social worker who does counseling and a nurse who does hypno-therapy all volunteering with them.
The only limitation that Crossroads currently faces is the fact that they are only open two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The limitation is only based on donations and volunteers. If we got more volunteers, we could be opened up three days a week, four days a week,” Montgomery said.
Crossroads is looking for volunteers of all kinds: nurses, physicians, office people.
“We have retired teachers, retired bus drivers. If they have the heart, it can happen here,” Moellenhoff said.
Another big benefit to Crossroads is that it keeps emergency rooms around the county less crowded.
“The other payback to the individual and the hospital is that they’re not seeking care through the emergency room. If we can keep them on track and keep their symptoms stable, we are what they need. They aren’t doing episodic E.R. care and plugging up the E.R.,” Moellenhoff said.
To learn more about Crossroads Clinic, visit them online at www.crossroadsclinicvim.org or reach out to them by phone at 636-561-3133.
Moellenhoff said that that phone is answered live on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. but that if the caller misses that time period, they can leave a message and someone will return their call the next time the clinic is open.
“If you are wondering, can we help you, please call us. We do some screening on the phone then we will mail that application to you. You send it back and if you meet the criteria, and almost always they do, we’ll get you an appointment and you will have a medical home,” Moellenhoff said.