TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Bethesda Health Clinic is getting even bigger. It's been serving low-to-moderate income Smith County residents for more than a decade, in more ways than you may think.
The health clinic opened in Tyler on September 6, 2003.
"There was a whole bunch of us that started years ago looking into ways that we could do that. We had been seeing patients in our own private practices and just wanted to find a good community solution," says Dr. John English, CEO of the clinic.
Today, some 200 doctors and another 100-200 volunteers make that solution possible. Uninsured, working Smith County residents can get high quality care with just a small co-pay.
"So patients are given the right, the dignity, to pay a little something for their visits to demand a higher level of visit. Because of that, they're given appointments based off that and we're able to add the faith and spiritual component," Dr. English says.
One that Bethesda CEO John English says all starts here, in the chapel located inside the clinic.
"And we found that actually to be more outreach and spiritual outreach because they can have one-on-one conversations with people as they come in to qualify as a patient," he says.
All of this, made possible by one source.
"God. He's provided for it," Dr. English says. "I tried to explain it once and it's just hard to do. He's provided since the day we started here and brought the right people. It's 100 percent community supported."
In addition to hundreds of volunteers, about 40 churches support Bethesda financially, eight of those going above and beyond.
"About once or twice a month, we'll have a Saturday clinic totally staffed by a local church. I have not found that anywhere else in the county. We've been able to do it. That's a Tyler unique answer to that," John says.
And a telling one. Recently the city of Tyler has also come on board, which is vital because the clinic receives no state or federal funding.
"You pray and you have the faith of a mustard seed and I think that's what does it. Sometimes when we don't have the answer, which is many times, we go to prayer," Dr. English says. "When you pray, you got to get down personally. You've got to get down and connect emotionally with somebody. That plays a big role and can sometimes change the whole outlook for a patient."
It's also a testament to the success of Bethesda Health Clinic and the impact it has right here in this community. In 2014, Bethesda saw 3400 patients just for dental work. The nutrition program is growing as well. Right now, the clinic is expanding to keep up with its growth.
And they attribute that to the Power of Prayer.