KC CARE Health Center was founded in 1971 as the Westport Free Health Clinic by a group of volunteers offering no-cost medical and dental care out of the lobby of the Alcazar Hotel. In the 1980s, KC CARE led the way in providing a continuum of HIV services that remains a national model today. In the 1990s, as the number of uninsured adults began to rise, KC CARE grew the Primary Care Program, expanded to include behavioral health services. and became the lead agency providing HIV services in the region as the first healthcare provider in Western Missouri to offer confidential testing and counseling for people with HIV.
After more than 50 years of providing trusted, unconditional, whole-person care to the uninsured and underinsured in Kanas City, KC CARE Health Center now services three locations: Midtown Campus at Broadway and Armour, two suites on Research Medical Campus, and in the Historic Northeast on Independence Ave. In 2022, KC CARE touched the lives of more than 23,000 people through 91,000 encounters. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, KC CARE has administered over 21,000 doses of the vaccine. The services provided by KC CARE translates into a $50-million economic impact on the region based on cost savings, workforce contributions, and care delivered. Their growth has been continuously fueled by the innovation necessary to meet our community’s most uncertain health challenges.
Founded upon the guiding statement that healthcare is a human right, KC CARE has innovated and adapted to meet the needs of the neighborhoods they serve. As they look toward the future, they not only seek to provide healthcare to people who face the greatest barriers, but to help build a community free of health disparities. As such, in the last six months, KC CARE has announced a capital campaign to expand services. The expansion will support urgent capital and endowment goals to better serve the community and increase their patient capacity by 30%. That increase will result in an added patient capacity of nearly 5,000 patients, leading to over 17,000 additional appointments.
While the campaign primarily focuses on the largest location in Midtown, their location in the Northeast will also receive vital updates by the end of 2024.
Operated by Dr. Elaine Joslyn for more than 20 years, their Northeast location is located at 4601 Independence Avenue. Upon retirement, Dr. Joslyn relied on KC CARE to preserve her legacy, trusting their history of providing an affirming experience to everyone in the community. Rocio Garcia, Patient Services Supervisor, and Karen Leuenberger, Physician Assistant, have both been serving patients at the location since Dr. Joslyn’s practice operated there. Retaining much of the staff from Dr. Joslyn’s practice allowed KC CARE to maintain its reputation as a true neighborhood family clinic. As KC CARE Assistant Chief Medical Officer Michelle Goss says, “Karen Leuenberger has quite the following.”
KC CARE services available in the Historic Northeast location include primary care, pediatrics, testing and screening, sexual health, behavioral health, HIV services, and community services. KC CARE also operates a pharmacy at the Midtown location and offers dental services on Research Medical Campus.
Whether you are seeking an annual physical, a sexual and reproductive health wellness exam, childhood immunizations, behavioral health care, or support navigating the healthcare and insurance systems, KC CARE wants residents of the Historic Northeast to know they are here to meet those needs.
To schedule a visit call 816.753.5144. To learn more about all the services KC CARE has to offer, visit kccare.org.