PEORIA — If you’re wondering how you're going to pay for those mandatory school physicals, here’s a place to get it done for free.

Dr. Ted Rogers and his wife, Lisa, started the Heart of Christ Medical and Eye Clinic in Northwest Methodist Church about seven years ago. A family medicine physician at the UnityPoint Health Clinic in Chillicothe, Rogers wanted to do something for the community.

“My wife and I initiated the idea,” said Rogers. “We wanted to do it through our church where other people could get involved if they wanted to.”

Volunteers often help out at the clinic, which happens from 9 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of every month. The next clinic will be Sept. 14. Heather Kohout, a family practice physician’s assistant, recently joined the effort. Dr. Edward Hu can provide free eye exams on request — call 472-4472 to find out when he’s available.

Attendance at the clinic varies. Sometimes they see 16 patients, and sometimes, when the weather is bad, they don’t see anyone.

“It’s such a huge variety of people that we see. We serve all walks of life,” said Lisa Rogers. “We serve people whether they have insurance or not. It’s all free. We don’t file anything.”

Patients come from all corners of Peoria, and even a few from outside the area, she said.

“I can think of a time when a homeless couple came in, I think they were from Kentucky,” said Lisa Rogers. “They drove by and saw the sign. They had their doggie with them — it was very sweet. They simply needed new heart medications and to be checked for hypertension. They got the full treatment. Then they got back on the road and they took off.”

The clinic is held in the church basement — one room dedicated to the endeavor is stocked with basic medical supplies. The effort is funded by donations.

“We don’t have many expenses because some of the stuff I bring on my own,” said Ted Rogers. “But we do have some equipment — a walker, a wheelchair, a shower chair — that people have donated.”

The clinic is run on an integrative health approach, said Lisa Rogers. Rather than just treating symptoms, the staff considers all of the patient’s needs.

“We try to nurture the whole person, to make sure they have all the care that they need before they leave.”

Over the years, Ted Rogers has seen people for a variety of complaints. Since he specializes in integrative medicine, he’s tuned in to problems that can be fixed by changing the diet. Over the years he’s been able to help a lot of people suffering from the American diet.

“We often see people who are from overseas. They are not used to the level of processed things we have in our foods. I get them off processed foods and they feel a lot better,” said Ted Rogers.

Respiratory infections and rashes are common complaints patients show up with. They also come in for blood pressure checks and hoping for a diagnosis for a variety of symptoms. If needed, Ted Rogers will write prescriptions for non-addictive drugs. If a patient needs more care or a service the clinic can’t provide, the staff refers them to other resources in the community.

“We try to plug people in to free and low-cost services elsewhere whenever we can,” said Ted Rogers.

To learn more visit https://nwunitedmethodist.org/medical-clinic/ or call 472-4472.

Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.