SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Access to health care can be difficult to come by in rural parts of the Ozarks especially for women.
Missouri Ozarks Community Health based in Douglas County is working to meet their needs by providing specialized care including during pregnancy.
“I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid you’re too old to do this. You’re going to be high risk,” said Andi Kelly.
She says she and her husband were bounced around facilities throughout the Ozarks hoping to find a doctor that could help them start and care for a family.
“We did have enough money but we didn’t have extra money to go and spend,” she said.
She says she was not only able to get the care she needed but she got it closer to home.
“The care can we get is every bit as good or better than what we can get in Springfield,” said Kelly.
This is especially important for women in rural areas with limited resources.
Doctor Selma Taylor says lack of information, education, and money are some of the barriers her patients face.
“As we see in the rural communities sometimes the young ladies that are ready for gynecology care are not equipped with the right knowledge or maybe they skipped gynecology care altogether and now they need prenatal care and they have no idea of what’s needed,” she said.
Providers with Missouri Ozarks Community Health offer more than basic care, like ultra sounds and exams.
Their program, “Great Expectations” helps guide a woman through the pregnancy process from start to finish.
“We let you know what you’re options are what we can provide for you and just kind of talk you down. People come in pretty anxious,” said nurse practitioner Shari Cook.
The offer resources including transportation, access to food and clothing programs, even behavioral health assistance.
“Ask questions. I can’t tell you how many times people say, we didn’t know you were here,” said Taylor.
A team of skilled nurses also helps better prepare expectant mothers for what’s to come.
“We make sure we’re having healthy moms and healthy babies, that’s the goal,” said Cook.
It’s what Kelly searched the Ozarks for and found right at home.
“It’s a good place to start. If they can’t help you they will give you the direction to go. They’re very much family,” she said.
The “Great Expectations Program is federally funded and serves women in Douglas, Texas, Wright, and Ozark Counties.
You can find more information by clicking here to access their website.
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