Bootheel Counseling Services opens medical clinic

Monday, March 28, 2011
Lisa Kail, nurse practitioner for Bootheel Counseling Services' new Family Medical Clinic, checks the ears of a patient on Friday. The new clinic, which opened in January, is open to the public and provides primary health care, including lab services. (Michelle Felter/Standard Democrat)

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A new health care facility in Sikeston is focused not only on meeting the needs of the community, but also making services more accessible to mental health patients.

Bootheel Counseling Services opened its Family Medical Clinic in January, following a comprehensive, year-long study looking into its benefits.

"We learned it would be very beneficial for our consumers because so many of them have transportation issues and problems finding a doctor," said Cheryl Jones, executive director of Bootheel Counseling Services.

She said the study also looked into how beneficial a clinic would be for Bootheel Counseling Services employees and their families.

Heading up the clinic is Lisa Kail, a family nurse practitioner. A variety of services are available, including medical care for acute and chronic illness, different types of physical exams, weight loss management, diabetes care and foot exams, well-woman exams and family planning.

"We provide care for the entire family for minor illnesses, and we also provide care for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma," Kail said.

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master's degree in nursing, is board certified for family practice who provides health care services similar to those provided by primary care doctors with an emphasis on prevention and wellness. Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat diverse conditions as well as write prescriptions.

The center is also certified as a Rural Health Clinic through the Missouri Department of Health.

"That means that you have in place good policies, procedures and practices and meet all of their specifications for quality," Jones said. She also also that distinction allows Bootheel Counseling Services to bill payers including Medicare and Medicaid.

She emphasized how important it is to have the medical clinic at the same site where the mental health services are offered.

"We know that individuals with a serious mental illness tend to die, on average, 25 years earlier than the nonmentally ill individual," Jones said. "There have been several studies done on that across the United States and some specifically in Missouri."

Jones said they've also learned Bootheel Counseling Services consumers have a lot of chronic health care problems and don't always have the resources available to help manage their health care issues.

She called the medical services at the center "a full-team approach between our psychiatrists, counselors and case managers, along with Lisa from the medical health care aspect."

All this is being done to better serve clients, Jones said.

She said several patients have commented on how convenient it is to have appointments back-to-back at the same facility and that it is much easier to keep medical appointments for that reason.

Not only is the service more convenient for Bootheel Counseling consumers, it's a help to the employees there, too. Kail said she's treated several cases already.

"They say they really like that they don't have to miss a lot of work to come and see me," she said.

And because lab work is part of what is offered there, it's easy for employees to better monitor any conditions, Kail said.

The clinic, which has two exam rooms and a lab created from existing space at the counseling center, is open to everyone in the community.

Jones said with the positive response since the clinic opened in January, plans are already underway for an expansion "if everything goes well."

BCS is looking at a 1,600 square-foot expansion to open up more room for the medical clinic and current workforce.

Bootheel Counseling Services and Family Medical Clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments may be made by calling 573-471-0800 or by dropping in the facility, 760 Plantation Blvd. in Sikeston.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: