The Agape Clinic in Belle is closing Tuesday and will leave hundreds of Missourians without healthcare.
Executive director Margie Lange said the clinic is closing because the legal physician she was working with sold his practice to a local hospital.
The hospital’s legal liability carrier decided to discontinue the legal collaborative practice agreement between Agape and the hospital. Lange said most of the patients Agape served are unsure what they will do for healthcare.
“Most of them say they don’t know where they will go, because they simply cannot afford to go anywhere else just to even pay for one local clinic visit to a regular provider,” Lange said.
Jill Kliethermes is the CEO of the Missouri Nurses Association. She said there are many healthcare restrictions for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in collaborative practice agreements in the rural parts of Missouri including:
- The collaborative practice physician must be within 50 miles of the clinic
- The physician must be on site of the clinic every 2 weeks to do chart reviews
- Restrictions on what medicines the facility can prescribe with the physician’s approval
- Restrictions on the duration of the prescription
- The clinic closes immediately if the collaborating physician leaves
- If the physician is offsite of the clinic, the APRN must practice on site with the physician for one month before the clinic opens
- Physicians can only legally collaborate with 3 APRNs
“Obviously, if you are an APRN who lives anywhere near the border of Iowa you would be much better off to practice in the state of Iowa than you would in the state of Missouri,” Kliethermes said. “You not have near the laws and restrictions to deal with as you do in Missouri.”
Kliethermes said Iowa has no restrictions on access to healthcare.
Lange said she is trying to reach any other physician within a 50 mile radius of Belle to reach an agreement with the Agape Clinic.
Agape served 600 visitors each year.