Brian Kreeger, executive director of the Katallasso Family Health Center, works Thursday in the free clinic at 701 W. King St. in York City.
Brian Kreeger, executive director of the Katallasso Family Health Center, works Thursday in the free clinic at 701 W. King St. in York City. (Erin James photo)

For 30 years, Lin Lane has sold health and life insurance for a living.

Yet, there he was Thursday, filling out forms on a clipboard at a free health clinic.

The 52-year-old Shiloh man is relatively healthy -- "never been in the hospital," he said before finding the wooden armrest of a waiting-room chair to knock on.

But, after losing his insurance through a divorce, Lane sought help from the new Katallasso Family Health Center.

He's been in the healthcare business long enough to know one's health is nothing to neglect, even for the short time it might take to find a new insurance provider.

Lane is one of about 100 patients served by the new clinic since it opened in York City's Salem Square neighborhood in January. The faith-based center at 701 W. King St. is free to uninsured and under-insured York County residents.

"It's amazing the stories that are coming out of here," said the center's executive director, Brian Kreeger.

Cases: Kreeger told the story of an overweight man who came to Katallasso complaining of knee pain so debilitating he couldn't work. A doctor prescribed steroid shots for the man, who's since lost 25 pounds.

"He's working regularly now," Kreeger said.

In another case, a woman came to the clinic with headaches. She was on the verge of losing her job.

The clinic's doctor diagnosed a blood-pressure issue, Kreeger said. Feeling better, she's enrolled herself in a higher-education program for the fall, he said.

Those are illustrations of a vicious cycle Kreeger said he's seen over and over again since the clinic opened.

Many people want to work, but they have a health condition that makes it difficult. Or, they've been laid off.

Either way, without a job, most don't have health insurance.

'Life saver': "We're filling that gap," Kreeger said. "Being uninsured isn't always about poverty."

A mechanical engineer between jobs, Michael Wilson called the clinic "a life saver."

The city resident said he sought help from the clinic after coming down with a flu-like illness. An office worker called him days after the appointment to see how he was doing.

"Even my own doctor doesn't do that," Wilson said.

Eight doctors, including three specialists, are regularly volunteering their time at Katallasso. Including nurses and office workers, the volunteer ranks are closer to 30, said Shirley Rabenstein, Katallasso's clinical coordinator.

Most give a few hours a month, she said.

The patients: As for patients, the vast majority are young and middle-aged adults. About 75 percent hail from the city, Rabenstein said.

People come in seeking care for everything from arthritis pain to diabetes, thyroid and psychological issues, she said.

A women's health specialist provides mammograms and gynecological exams.

Duane Furman, the clinic's medical director, said Katallasso is able to offer the same care as a family doctor's office.

Patients receive routine physicals, which can include lab testing and prescriptions. Patients who need specialized care are aided with finding affordable providers elsewhere, said Furman, a physician assistant with a practice in Lancaster.

"We're a very good bridge for that," he said.

The demand for care is intense, Kreeger said, with appointments being scheduled about four weeks in advance.

Relying on donations: The clinic relies on donations to cover its costs. Area churches, companies, nonprofits and individual donors have stepped up to help, Kreeger said.

"Other than that, it's just faith in God," he said.

Kreeger, who founded the clinic with conviction to share Christ's love in a poor York City neighborhood, said clinic workers ask every patient if they'd like someone to pray with them. So far, every patient has accepted the offer, he said.

"That 'no' is coming, and that is OK," Kreeger said. "We're not beating people with the Bible."

The clinic is open by appointment only. To schedule an appointment call (717) 885-5637.

Any willing donors or volunteers can also call the clinic or email info@katclinic.com.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.