St. Louis American (12.05.2013)
The St. Louis American reported that several health clinics recently received public money to test and treat STDs in St. Louis. The city records approximately 6,100 STD cases every year, and many of these patients do not have insurance. Pam Rice Walker, interim health department director, provided emergency contracts to the Downtown Urgent Care and North City Urgent Care on Ridge to help make up for the closing of St. Louis ConnectCare, another clinic that tested and treated 20 percent of the city’s STD cases before it closed.
Walker said the $420,000 contracts go toward testing and treating only people who would not be able to pay otherwise, or for residents under 24 who might be on their parent’s insurance. “We already have a pretty strong system of care; the city puts [$]5 million into Gateway for Better Health and that covers this as well. We tried to focus on who is not covered and who goes to ConnectCare and where is going to be accessible and who is going to have the expertise we are looking for,” said Rice Walker.
Another location that received public money is Washington University in St. Louis-operated The SPOT, which only sees clients younger than 24 years of age. According to Walker, youth make up approximately 70 percent of reported STD cases. With the new locations, Walker said, the city has improved access to STD testing and treatment, as well as provided young people with a suitable location.