Health Clinic Offers Relief for Uninsured North Texans

More than four million Texans lack health insurance, according to the Texas Medical Association.

Those who are uninsured have little to no options when it comes to dealing with chronic illnesses or with a sudden injury.

A North Texas clinic has been stepping in and caring for more than 2,800 people this year alone.

There have been so many patients, in fact, Open Arms Health Clinic in Arlington outgrew its space.

"I hurt the ligaments on my right side of the knee, and the ligaments on this side," Maricela Pineda said pointing to her left knee.

When Pineda hurt her leg while out on a walk with her kids, pain and worry both set in.

"What am I going to do?" she wondered. "I can't afford to go to the doctor."

The Arlington resident had no health insurance.

"The monthly deductible is almost what I make, so I just can't do it," she said.

She ended up in the hospital and was then referred to Open Arms.

"I was really grateful for the fact that they went the extra mile to try and help me," she said. "I was able to see a specialist. I was able to get physical therapy through Open Arms."

The no-cost health clinic serves uninsured and under-insured North Texans.

Those seeking general medical care are asked whether they have health insurance, but they receive care regardless.

Fran Martin opened the faith-based nonprofit in 2011.

"This is absolutely the best job that I've ever had in my whole life, and I've been a nurse for a long, long time," Martin said. "My pay is hugs and 'thank yous,' and that's the best you can get to me."

The clinic moved into a bigger building this month, almost tripling its size.

Martin says they now have nine exam rooms and other rooms they plan on using for additional services and educations classes.

"About 90 percent of our patients have some type of chronic illness," Martin said. "We work on providing them the care, the knowledge, the tools they need so they can be the healthiest they can be."

The clinic accepts walk-ins.

"We turn people away every time we open the doors, and that is absolutely the hardest thing to do to look somebody in the eye and know they need something and say, 'We can't do that for you tonight or today,'" she said.

Pineda has experienced long waits and has had to leave without treatment but is grateful regardless.

She has even started to volunteer as a Spanish translator.

"They treat us with dignity," she said. "I'm just grateful that God put them in my life."

Open Arms is seeking donations such as computers in order to offer job prep classes and services.

The clinic is also hoping to get more volunteers including doctors, nurse practitioners and registered nurses.

MORE: For more information, or if you would like to help, visit the Open Arms website.

Contact Us