Texas church opens health center

Cactus, Texas

The Well Health Center was built last year and opened in January after the Church of the Nazarene in Cactus, Texas, saw a need for health care in the Cactus community.

The church already offered English as a Second Language classes, community outreach initiatives, and immigration and civics assistance, but one thing the community was lacking was accessible health care facilities.

Cactus is a small, impoverished, and highly diverse town in the Texas panhandle. Inhabitants come from more than 20 different countries, including Somalia, Myanmar, Guatemala, and South Sudan. Approximately 50 percent of the people are of Latin ethnicity, and the remaining half are refugees from all over the world.

The faith-based non-profit clinic helps these people who would otherwise have to travel to see a doctor in larger communities like Dumas.

“Doesn’t seem very far away, but for a lot of people who don’t have a car, don’t have a driver’s license, or they don’t have health insurance, there’s a lot of barriers to people getting health care,” said Dr. Stephanie Diehlmann. “Not to mention the multitude of languages and whatnot we have here in Cactus.”

When the clinic first opened, it was only serving patients out of Moore County.

Just recently, the clinic has expanded to see patients from surrounding counties as well.

“As we had resources available, we thought we would like to really expand to be able to offer some of our neighboring counties as well,” Diehlmann said. “So, about a month ago, our board of directors did vote to go ahead and open up to Sherman, Dallam, and Hartley counties, so patients who come from those areas can also come to the Well Health Center for their services.”

The health center is a family medicine doctor’s office that serves men, women, and children of all ages.

Diehlmann said she also provides well-woman exams and pap smears.

While the clinic is a non-profit, its services aren’t free and patients without insurance can pay a sliding scale fee.

“Based on their family size and their income level, we calculate their federal poverty level, and then they may just pay $20 to see the doctor or $30 or $60, depending on what their resources are that they have," Diehlmann said. “About 70 percent of our patients do not have insurance, so that would probably be the biggest barrier to going to another place for care is just the cost.”

Diehlmann said she hopes the health center can grow to offer even more services in the future.

“From mental health care to dental, we would love to start a recovery program for drug and alcohol addiction,” Diehlmann said. “We have a big vision for what this health center will become someday, but we’re just getting started.”

--Republished with permission from KFDA NewsChannel 10 Amarillo

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