Dr. Stratton Douglas, Internal Medicine physician at Grace clinic,312 W 4th St, Texarkana, TX 75503, is blessing those in the community who need it the most, the uninsured. Every Tuesday and every other Sunday at 4 PM, he and his trusted group of volunteers provide healthcare services free of charge, hoping to relieve one less stress in the lives of the homeless and poor.
In February 2012, approximately 6.5 years ago, Dr. Douglas opened Grace Clinic with hopes of providing a solution after witnessing a significant need in the community. He and his family moved to Texarkana in 1999 after completing his residency in Knoxville, Tennessee, raising two sons here. In addition to operating Grace Clinic, he is owner of Pleasant Grove Medical Spa which donates a portion of their proceeds to Grace Clinic and local food pantries.
“Several years ago, and still today, a large number of local people either lack medical insurance or are under-insured,” he explained. “They have no access to health care other than emergency room visits, and there is a lot of suffering.”
When he isn’t serving the community as a physician, he is attending Church Under the Bridge and Life House to worship and connect with his patients. Dr. Douglas is generous with his time, talents, and earnings, often giving to other organizations in various forms, mostly with the Salvation Army Food Pantry, and Fouke Food Pantry.
It didn’t take long for information regarding Dr. Douglas and Grace Clinic spread by word of mouth, eventually leading to long lines out the door each week for the clinic to open. Dr. Douglas opened the clinic with only a few volunteers to assist, some of which are still helping in the clinic today.
“It has always been a team effort,” Dr. Douglas emphasized. “I’m the doctor but Grace Clinic is more than the doctor–it’s the receptionists, the nurses, and everyone else who has some part in caring for our patients.”
Together, the core team of volunteers and Dr. Douglas provide diagnostic services that are based on physical exams in addition to the patient history and any lab work performed. By providing these services and examinations free of charge, patients are able to use those funds for items that the insured often take for granted. Those who receive health care from Grace Clinic fully appreciate the level of care they are receiving.
“It’s not my place to question why they are in need, only to try to meet that need,” said Dr. Douglas.
Dr. Douglas has put in efforts to acquire grants for the clinic but has been unsuccessful thus far. In addition to the need for volunteers, they are seeking out individuals that are familiar with grant applications.
Being the only free clinic in several counties makes Grace Clinic an essential asset for those in the community who do not have access to health care and are uninsured. With the help of grants, Dr. Douglas and his volunteers would be able to provide even more services in the community. Lab tests and visits are currently free to patients, but Dr. Douglas hopes to be able to provide some meditations free of charge to those who cannot afford them.
After over 6 years of serving the Texarkana community, Dr. Douglas and his group of volunteers show no signs of slowing down. The memories and impact of providing these services leave quite the impression on both the patients and those providing the health care services. As long as there are uninsured in the area, Dr. Douglas will be available to help.