Medical Missions For Christ Executive Director Carolyn Bowling and Director of Dental Services Jan Horchner said the current wait list is four months to see its only dentist who travels from Kansas to volunteer for two days every couple of weeks.

A local faith-based ministry that provides free medical and dental services for low-income and uninsured residents is searching for volunteer dentists and dental assistants for its Camdenton clinic.

Medical Missions For Christ Executive Director Carolyn Bowling and Director of Dental Services Jan Horchner said the current wait list is four months to see its only dentist who travels from Kansas to volunteer for two days every couple of weeks.

“We would be happy to have someone half a day a week, preferably who is living down here,” Horchner said. “If someone walks in right now it’s going to be at least four months before we can even look at them. We really need the help over here.”

Since opening in 2006, MMFC has provided services to 4,000 clients with an active patient list of roughly 300 people. By the end of the year, the clinic expects to see around 400 patients while providing around 1,500 office visits, according to Bowling. A group of approximately 80 people currently volunteer for the clinic that relies on charitable donations and grant funding.

Some of the services provided at no and reduced costs include primary medical care, basic dental services, eye exams, chiropractic care, prescription assistance, mammograms, nutrition and diabetic education referrals and funding working in conjuncture with Lake Regional Health System and Central Ozarks Medical Center.

“It’s an all-out effort to try and get that person what they need. We know they can’t afford it. We’re not here because we’re running a business, we’re here because there’s a big gap that needs filling,” Bowling said. “We’re here to fill a need - to help those people who aren’t getting the help they need another way.”

Bowling said the benefit of the clinic’s services is that preemptive care and regular checkups can help prevent future costs incurred at emergency rooms or on the surgery table, which is why it’s important to coordinate with federally-funded qualified medical providers who can receive substantial federal and state funding to help with the cost of services.

“We’re willing to change, to adapt to meet the needs of the community. We’re different from the federal funded (medical providers),” Bowling said. “They’re filling a need and it’s great, but we all kind of have to work together, because they know and we know there are still people falling through the cracks.”

One of those people who might’ve fallen through the crack is client and volunteer, Jan, whom the Lake Sun has agreed not to identify. Jan gave an interview to the Lake Sun about her experiences receiving services and also volunteering, which she described as a way to “pay it forward” for the help she has received from MMFC.

“I contacted them before they even opened. I was one of the first five people to have care from them and have been for several years,” Jan said. “All these services over the years have grown and expanded from preemptive checkups, help with purchasing medication. I’ve utilized every department.”

Jan said she makes too much money to receive state or federal assistance and she’s not disabled nor have any dependent children, but cannot afford Affordable Care Act plans or work-provided insurance, leaving her with difficult options when it comes to healthcare.

“A deductible of $1,000? Where do I come up with that? I don’t look for any handouts or want something I don’t need,” she said. “The guidance and help they give you is overwhelming. It’s been such a blessing. No job is too small, every little minute helps and kind of monetary or supplies donations are needed. This is a blessing and should be supported.”