CAPE GIRARARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Craftsman Independent Union released a statement Friday saying the United States Department of Labor has directed it to stop providing services at its Midtown Family Medical Center to anyone other than employees represented by the union or their covered dependents.
According to the union, members submitted a proposal to the Department of Labor that would allow the center to continue serving the community at large, but it was rejected.
The clinic will no longer be allowed to provide services to the community at large after 5 p.m. Friday, March 18.
Only employees represented by the Craftsman Union and their covered dependents will be eligible for services.
The clinic has been open for 12 years at 24 North Sprigg Street.
On Friday, patients at the clinic were told about the news. Many of them were very unhappy.
Lacey White of Cape Girardeau says she comes to the center once a month.
"The medicine that I get here helps me walk and if I didn't come here I probably wouldn't be able to walk," said White.
She is on medicaid, like many other patients at Midtown.
Sources tell Heartland News, the center serves about 500 patients. Nearly 75% are low income. Very few of them are members of the Craftsman Union.
"Now that this place may be closing, I don't know where I'm going to go or where hundreds of others are going to go," said White.
Patient Rhonda Carson travels to Midtown Family Medical Center from Thebes, Illinois.
"I will do whatever it takes," said Carson. "Someone needs to let me know. If we need to protest I will organize something so we can keep this clinic open. This is ridiculous."
According to Rich Kulczewski, U.S. Department of Labor-Regional Director for Public Affairs, "The case is currently under investigation and we are not in a position to discuss the details at this time. The U.S. Department of Labor has not directed that the clinic be closed."
Our questions to both the Craftsman Union, and the Department of Labor about why this was happening were not answered.