HOUSTON – “I worked in school… I wasn’t one of those kids who had the luxury of partying during Spring Break. Every vacation that we had, I was trying to work and figure out how I could pick up more hours at the job. I worked multiple jobs at the same time.”
These words were delivered by Kimberly Barrow, during a recent interview with African-American News & Issues. Through genuine hard work and a motivated desire to excel, Kimberly has become a family nurse practitioner. Since relocating to the Houston area, the ambitious 32-year-old has fulfilled her dream of creating her own private practice, Kimberly Cares, LLC. Read on to learn more about how this fascinating soul has embarked on a journey to, inspire other medical providers to ban together and utilize their resources to offer affordable health care to our communities and others.
About Kimberly Barrow, MSN, APRN, NP-C:
Kimberly Barrow hails from Jacksonville, Florida. She was reared with four siblings by her mother, Michelle Legier. Growing up, Kimberly recalls that it was a financial struggle for them. However, she maintains that her mother worked hard to support and educate her and her siblings. Early on, Kimberly developed a passion for helping others and knew that she wanted to work in the field of Nursing. Hence she initiated her nursing path at the age of 18, by enrolling at Florida State University, after graduating high school. She attended FSU for a couple of years and decided to complete her Associate of Science degree at Tallahassee Community College. Afterwards, she returned home and began working in the field of Nursing. While doing so, she enrolled at the University of Central Florida, where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. She later earned a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Health and Science Center in Houston.
Shortly after completing her undergraduate studies, Kimberly welcomed a bouncing baby girl. It was during her pregnancy that she noticed, the cost of healthcare was extremely excessive. Furthermore, while working as an employee in the healthcare system, she nearly went lacking of prenatal care. She found that she did not qualify for Pregnancy Medicaid, because of her income. Kimberly felt that this was unfair treatment because she had worked and contributed into the system; but was denied coverage when she needed it.
During our interview, Kimberly compared her personal experience to many other residents. She said, “It is unfortunate that there are so many people that go around with these health conditions, that they can’t get care for, because the cost is so excessive.” She continued, “Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol: these things are killing our community and it’s really because these conditions are going unmanaged… I feel like the cost is being driven by the providers and pharmaceutical companies.”
Kimberly explains that primary care at a basic level is not expensive. Exam tables, minimal medical supplies and a small quantity of medications are the necessities to provide basic care for a patient. Therefore, she believes that there are no major costs to justify charging patients’ hundreds of dollars, for routine care or a simple office visit. She says it is time out for those providers, “who don’t have the patients’ best interest at heart, because they are worried about satisfying volume to recruit revenue.” She strongly feels that it is important to give patients the best quality of care and let them know that you care. “These days, the personal touch is missing and they treat people like cattle (in and out – in and out); and that’s not right”, she said. So she is hoping to inspire up and coming medical professionals to consider the needs and resources of the community.
After personally experiencing the hardship associated with the lack of health insurance coverage, coupled with a decade of experience as a nurse “working in the trenches”; Kimberly felt it was her destiny to engineer Kimberly Cares, LLC. First, she considered all of her years in the Nursing industry and went to a personal professional confidant of hers; to ensure that she wasn’t being “overzealous”. Accordingly, she contacted an experienced physician who she was comfortable with, who has a private practice and is also an attorney. She briefed him of her concept and asked of his opinion. He told her, “If you can take care of sick patients in the hospital, then you can take care of well patients in the clinic.”
At the time, Kimberly was working at a clinic by herself, as a family nurse practitioner. In a small leased space in a grocery store, she and one other medical assistant cared for over 40 patients daily. Objectively, she’d planned to implement her practice within three to five years. However, she soon realized that she was already in the role of serving as a primary provider. Kimberly provided the care, the billing was completed under her number and she was just given a percentage of the profit. Additionally, she was being dictated on when, where and which time she could care for patients. This element hindered her from delivering the level of care that she knew she could. All of these things further inspired Kimberly to follow her life-long dream. Thus, she laid the groundwork to pioneer Kimberly Cares, LLC, turned in her two week’s notice and made haste to transition her dream into a reality.
From that experience she has opened Kimberly Cares, LLC. Kimberly Cares is an extension of her experience, having served at the bedside caring for acutely ill patients in Level 1 trauma centers and other hospitals, many of whom were uninsured. She has transformed her expertise of standing side by side with the physicians, patients, family and interdisciplinary team, helping to develop diagnoses and treatment plans; into providing primary care for the underserved and uninsured population of Houston and the surrounding areas at a comfortable price, residents can afford.
A snippet of the services provided by Kimberly Cares, LLC include: Acute (Sick) Visits, ranging in services pertinent to: upper respiratory infections, allergies and sinus, asthma flares, ear infections, ear irrigation, eye infections, urinary symptoms, pregnancy testing, minor cuts, simple abscess drainage, rashes and eczema, Poison Ivy/Oak, minor animal bites, minor abdominal complaints and wart removals. Wellness Visits and Chronic Disease services specialized in the clinic are: Well-Woman exams, family planning, Adult Annual/Wellness exams, Well Child exams, routine immunizations, daycare physical exams, sports physicals, smoking cessation, Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypothyroid, elevated cholesterol, acme and asthma. Kimberly Cares also provides screenings and other services such as: TB Skin testing, lab services, hearing and vision screenings, Diabetes/Cholesterol Screening, DOT (Truck Driver) physicals, travel immunizations and B12 injections.
null Motivation and Inspiration:
Today, Kimberly regards her mother as being her greatest inspiration. She said, “My mother has been very supportive along my journey.” She added, “My mom didn’t have a lot of resources and I rarely asked for anything because I didn’t want to put that burden on her… I knew if I asked for it, she was going to go above and beyond trying to get it for me – and she always did, I don’t know how.” These most gracious words in reference to her mother may easily be confirmed in her mother’s current role within Kimberly Cares. Michelle serves as the Business Relations and Marketing Executive of Kimberly Cares, LLC.
A Word the African-American Community:
When asked of any advice she would like to render to the Black community, Kimberly revealed the following. “Give the babies a chance to do something with their lives’… Instill work ethics in them and don’t beat them down. I hear so many parents criticizing their children. Some of them are not built for traditional class because the school system is antiquated – it’s old. They have been teaching that same way since forever ago and it’s really time for an update. Just let the kids live, encourage them, give them a break… If you find them falling short somewhere, find something else for them that they are strong in. Everybody is not strong academically. If we groom, encourage, instill and feed positive energy into our community then the children will be better.
Finally, we have to find a way to do things together as a community. No one person can fix all of the things that are going on. Everybody has to take a piece. We have to ban together in whatever way we can to help move our community forward. Ultimately, we need to support and protect our own.”
Kimberly Cares, LLC is located at 5751 Blythewood St. Suite 700, 77047. For more information about the services they provide contact (832) 649-2254 or visit their website at: http://www.kcaresmore.com/.
Kimberly is credentialed through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program, and is a member of several other professional organizations. She is the proud mother of one daughter, Abrianna Barrow and continues to provide affordable health care to the Greater Houston and surrounding area.