WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A stay in the hospital or a visit to the emergency room isn’t cheap and without insurance or a primary care physician, some patients don’t have the proper tools to keep their health conditions under control meaning a trip back to the hospital is a big possibility.

Staff at the United Regional Transition Clinic serve to provide those very tools.

From diabetes to heart failure and high blood pressure, health conditions have to be taken care of, but with COVID-19 creating an array of financial and health problems, unemployment is up and so is the number of uninsured residents.

“A lot of times patients don’t necessarily don’t want to go to see a doctor, they can’t get there or once they can get there, they can’t pay the copay or they can’t afford their medications so we kind of help work through those barriers,” Manager of Chronic Disease at the Transition Clinic Jessica Sanchez said.

The clinic serves primarily uninsured or under insured patients who have recently stayed in the hospital or visited the emergency department.

“We really like to go through all of their medications that are listed in their chart, and we like to just update those,” Sanchez said. “So we want to make sure ‘are you still taking this medication, are you taking the right medications that you need to help you with your disease process and really improve your overall health.”

Funded by generous community members, the clinic is able to give patients crucial equipment and education so they can manage their conditions, and not wind up back in the hospital.

It’s possible through whats called the Community Care Fund.

“For our diabetes patients, we’re able to provide supply kits for them with some syringes and a gluccmoter and some strips to check their blood sugar, because it’s important for us to have that information if we’re gonna bring them back to the clinic to really try to regulate their medications and get them where they are controlled,” Sanchez said.

Transportation, blood pressure machines, scales for heart patients and food boxes, you name it.

Lately though, food has been a desperate need that hasn’t been easy to fill.

“We couldn’t get any, the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank unfortunately just didn’t have a lot of resources, they couldn’t get the food to make the boxes for us and so we really did struggle with that for our patients,” Sanchez said. “That’s one of the biggest things that we definitely notice with our population is that they just don’t have food.”

COVID-19 safety measures are in place at the Transition Clinic, as they are at care facilities across the nation.

Sanchez said it’s her staff and their patients who make it all worth it.

“It can be sometimes a little heartbreaking, Sanchez said. “But I know and I talk to them all the time, but they wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Many patients are recommended to the clinic by the emergency department or through community outreach programs with the food pantry and once-a-week clinic at The Mission.

Some even come to the clinic because of a recommendation by someone they know.

Click here to learn more about the importance of the Community Care Fund and how to donate.