Free clinic re-opens to packed house

LAWTON-- It was a packed house at the grand opening of Lawton's only free medical clinic.  The Hearts That Care medical clinic opened its doors at their new location on 304 A Avenue for the first time in nearly a year much to the delight of those in need.

Shirley Acosta says she is thankful the clinic is back open.  She says there are a lot of folks that really needed the clinic.  She says since it closed it has been really hard on a lot of folks.

The clinic is still a work in progress, but director Dr. Wendy Bartanen wanted to open up their doors even if they still have finishing touches left to do.  Dr. Bartanen and a team of volunteers started working the clinic in July after they had to move from their previous location.

The entrance to the clinic is on the south side of the building and can be tricky to find,  but the volunteers say they know people who need them will find them.   David Ridgway is one of several who has volunteered countless hours towards this clinic.   He's also a former patient and says, "they helped me with my medications when I couldn't afford health care like that or like this place is offering."

On days that she is the only volunteer physician Dr. Bartanen says she hopes to see at least 20 patients.   Dr. Bartanen says she knows many people work for a living and can't afford insurance.

Moving the clinic has been a community effort.  People have donated everything from carpet and paint to medical.

The clinic opens at 6:00 P.M. on the first and third Thursday of the month.  Appointments are on a first come, first served basis.  Patients need to bring proper identification, like a driver's license and your last pay stub or a utility bill.  The clinic needs that information to make sure you don't have insurance.