CHIPS was founded in 1990 as a nurse managed clinic to provide health care and social services to low-income, underserved and uninsured residents of the St. Louis region. Today, CHIPS is the only free clinic in the area. We provide health care and social services to uninsured clients from nearly 100 zip codes in Missouri and 20 zip codes in Illinois.
In the late 1980s the pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Mathew the Apostle and St. Alphonsus Ligouri ("The Rock") churches were overwhelmed by the growing needs of people who lived in neighborhoods surrounding their parishes. The pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, currently known as Sts. Teresa and Bridget Church, asked Nurse Practitioner and Public Health Executive Judy Bentley to create a program that would help give residents of this north St. Louis community access to affordable health care.
Mrs. Bentley began offering health assessments and referrals in a clinic in the basement of St. Teresa's Church. That clinic quickly grew with the number of people seeking health care who could not afford either the fees at federally funded clinics or the deductibles required by Medicare or Medicaid.
Today, CHIPS is a critical access point for health care and social services, providing over 25,000 service encounters a year. Every year CHIPS' providers, volunteers and donors give over $1,000,000 in time, professional skills and financial support to bring preventive and primary care, dentistry, behavioral health, wellness programs, health education and managed referrals to a high-risk population.
The CHIPS team encourages clients to take personal responsibility for their health and wellness. As a result, less than one percent of CHIPS’ clients were hospitalized last year, saving the community approximately $8,700,000 in charity care.