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MLK Health Center in Shreveport unveils new clinic headquarters

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The Martin Luther King Health Center in Shreveport officially opened its new clinic and pharmacy in a renovated building with a ribbon cutting ceremony held Tuesday.

The building, purchased from Christus Schumpert Health System, underwent a $250,000 renovation over the past eight months, according to executive director Janet Mentesane.

She says the charity health clinic’s board of directors decided to take out a loan to pay for the renovation because it was under a tight deadline to vacate its leased location.

“It’s big debt to us because we’ve been debt free for almost 30 years,” Mentesane said. “This is the first loan that this organization has ever had. We really want to try to pay that off as quickly as possible. That’s what we’re going to be working on.”

The MLK Health Center provides health care and pharmacy access to uninsured and underinsured people. It manages care for about 1,500 patients each year in northwest Louisiana.

The new building features seven exam rooms, including one with a hydraulic exam table that lowers for people who can’t step up. Mentesane says the center’s multipurpose meeting room will offer teaching programs an informal classroom space. She says the clinic’s services are valued at $14 million annually.

“We are a safety net to the safety net. We have some of the safety net clinics that actually refer patients to us who can’t afford a sliding fee for health services,” Mentesane said. “To try to keep patients out of the emergency rooms is what we’re here for.”

The clinic recently offered its first “mammograms and manicures” event. Dozens of women participated in the spa day that included a key health screening. Mentesane looks forward to the MLK Health Center’s upcoming launch of pharmacy services through a mobile health unit and the opening of a handicap-accessible community garden next to its property at 865 Olive Street.

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