With tours, treats and a park full of activities, Genesis Family Health was packed Friday afternoon with the people that make it possible: its clients and its staff.

The clinic celebrated its 45th anniversary this weekend with cake and snowcones, health screenings and facility tours at its Garden City location, the first of several celebrations at the clinic’s four regional locations in Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal and Ulysses.

Genesis Family Health opened in Garden City in August 1974 as a care center, offering food, clothes and shelter to those who needed it, Genesis CEO Julie Wright said Friday. Not long after, they added health care to their list of services by opening the organization’s first free clinic. More than 20 years later, in 1998, Genesis became a federally qualified health center.

Genesis today is the result of consistent, and relatively recent, expansion. As a federally qualified health center, the facilities offer social services, treatment for substance abuse and opioid addiction, dental services and behavioral health services on top of their general care, Wright said.

The organization is based on need, Wright said. If staff determines a regional community has a need for Genesis, they work to open a center. In the past five years, the clinic has gone from serving 5,000 clients to 10,000 clients, she said.

“We’ve grown into a major health care facility in southwest Kansas,” Wright said.

The clinic offers access, Wright said. A sliding fee scale creates options for clients who do not have insurance, can’t afford the Affordable Care Act and don’t qualify for KanCare, she said. The clinic can not only help clients with few options get access to health care and prescriptions, but also rental assistance or a temporarily living space.

In the future, Wright said the clinic hopes to expand its dental services to meet a “tremendous need” for dental services for those uninsured or on Medicaid. She also wants to bring more providers to the community.

All staff members are bilingual and language lines help providers communicate with clients who do not speak English or Spanish.

“I just want to give a shout-out to my staff. The staff here and the parents and the volunteers are what make this place special, and I want to say thank you to them,” Wright said.

And it matters, said clients and staff. Extended hours and affordable services make a difference to people with few options, especially those without insurance, said Genesis staff member Leticia Flores. And the clinic’s environment feels inherently welcoming, said Liz Dean, a client whose father is a provider at the clinic.

“I think it’s more family-oriented. I think that’s their goal … It definitely feels like more of a family atmosphere, like they actually care about the whole family’s health,” Dean said.


Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.