The Platte County Health Department (PCHD) holds a unique place in the heart of KCU faculty member Robert Stephens, PhD. He spent 20-years as a publicly elected member of the Board of Trustees of PCHD, the only Missouri Health Department that provides primary care to the uninsured and economically challenged people of the county. All of the physicians of the clinic have been KCU alumni.
Now, the Platte County Health Department has paid tribute to Stephens’ service, by naming the Family Healthcare Clinic in his honor.
“I am humbled,” said Stephens. “I have a passion to help this population of people; it doesn’t make any difference if they name a clinic after me.”
Stephens served from 1996 to 2016, including the position of Chairman of the Board. During this period, the Board initiated and implemented the delivery of primary care to thousands of patients. This experience would shape his belief that primary care should be available to everyone.
“Some of the patients, who come to the clinic, have never been treated by a physician,” Stephens noted. “Although they often work more than one job, at $9.30 an hour it’s difficult to rise above poverty. You are just trying to keep your head above water.”
Stephens says osteopathic medicine is a perfect fit for patients in the Family Healthcare Clinic. They often have complicated health issues and need to be seen by cardiologists, internists, orthopedists and other providers.
He also recognizes a need for dental care, addiction services and psychological treatment that is being address, but is still a work in progress.
Moving forward, Stephens has developed a new incentive- and provider-based program, which would provide both primary and specialty care to underserved/uninsured patients and veterans on a national level.
“They are important to us. Irrespective of income, we need an effective solution for medical care for this population.” Stephens said.