Kansas City domestic violence shelter adds health care clinic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A domestic violence center in Kansas City is opening an on-site health clinic to help victims protect their long-term health.

The SafeCARE clinic at the Rose Brooks Center, which opened Thursday, will serve domestic violence victims who often receive medical attention only at emergency rooms when they are injured, clinic officials said.

The clinic is the first on-site clinic inside a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, although the trend is growing nationally, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/1vY8YwP ).

Kate Mallula, health services coordinator for Rose Brooks, said the clinic will provide nearly 100 women and children with checkups, screenings for sexually transmitted disease and school physicals. The services are free and provided by health professionals donating their time. The two-room clinic is funded by a combination of grants and donations.

The health care providers from Goppert-Trinity Family Care will visit the clinic twice a month. Home nurses will also be able to use the clinic when visiting their clients, she said.

Goppert-Trinity Family Care has provided health services to Rose Brooks for several years but it often didn’t have adequate space, said Jennifer Kelley, a family practitioner at Goppert-Trinity.

“We’re able to offer more services now and privacy,” Kelley said. “I view us as advocates for their health, so they in turn can take care of themselves and their families.”

Many abusers prevent their victims from having access to their medical records. A lack of insurance and transportation, along with a fear of abusers finding them, also can prevent survivors from receiving health care, Mallula said.

Many women at the center have little information about health care, said Tonya “Tutti” Bailey, public health nurse supervisor for the Kansas City Health Department.

“It’s things like not knowing how to determine if you have high blood pressure, or that a sore throat could be an STD and not just allergies,” Bailey said. “This space will be used to educate women about their health, and when a women is learning and healing, she is empowered.”

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