A new pharmacy in Buckner is connected to a regional effort to improve access to medical services in and near several smaller cities.

The Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri has four Live Well Community Health Centers, in Buckner, Waverly, Concordia and Carrollton.

Now the Buckner Pharmacy, at 325 S. Hudson St., across from the Live Well clinic, has added to that network of services.

“We have all prescription meds. We have a small OTC line,” said Christina Mackesty, pharmacy manager. It accepts most insurance, including Veterans Choice, and there’s a program to get some prescription medications at a deep discount.

The Health Care Collaborative covers Jackson County east of Missouri 291 as well as Lafayette, Ray, Saline and Carroll counties. Its services are open to all, and many patients are those with lower incomes. It gets federal funding and private foundation funding.

“Anybody can come and utilize any of our clinics. There’s no geographic boundaries,” said Suzanne Smith, the group’s director of network development. She and Mackesty spoke at last week’s monthly Grain Valley Partnership luncheon.

The collaborative says it served 3,455 patients in 2015, 31 percent of whom were on Medicaid, 15 percent were on Medicare, 34 percent had private insurance and 20 percent had no insurance. It says its overall economic impact is more than $5 million annually.

The collaborative works with 47 other area agencies such as food banks and faith-based groups, and it tries to connect people in need with available services.

“We focus on the social determinants of health,” Smith said.

The group also has converted an old video store in Lexington to a warehouse for a wide variety of needed goods. For instance, food stamps don’t cover diapers or other hygiene items, so there is a constant need. Also, the group has given out more than 100 beds since October and is looking for more.

“They don’t have to be brand-new beds,” Smith said. “We ask for gently used beds.”

The collaborative has grown rapidly since its founding in 2013.

“It’s been just incredible. We love it,” Smith said.

A day-long event, Project Connect, is set for April 29 in Buckner. It’s focused on the needs of adults, from tooth extractions to free haircuts. People can get help signing up for Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. It’s from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and starts at First Baptist Church, 131 S. Hudson St.

“Everything is free,” Smith said.