Replacing Mission of Mercy's mobile health clinic vehicle and adding a mobile dental clinic will be possible if the charity's capital campaign reaches the $2 million mark, said Jennifer Charlton, executive director.
For 20 years, Mission of Mercy has been offering roving health care from mobile stations around Maryland, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Texas to reach people who may not be served by other health care or social services networks. In the Maryland and Pennsylvania region, it reported that its mobile clinics’ 275 volunteer medical professionals and lay people have served more than 28,000 patients with more than 172,000 visits to their clinics over the past two decades.
Mission of Mercy is available to people who have very little, but too much to qualify for other programs that assist people, Charlton said.
Nine days a month, clinics are held in Frederick, Brunswick, Reisterstown and Taneytown, and in Gettysburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mission of Mercy is a registered nonprofit, has six full-time equivalent staff and does not accept government funding.
In Frederick County, the clinics provide more than 3,100 patient visits annually, Charlton said.
More people now have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, but many remain uninsured, and a new trend is developing among some insured who find premiums and copays too expensive, Charlton said.
“Just because somebody has a card doesn't mean they have care,” she said.
She expects the clinics may need to take on an expanding role to care for veterans and middle-class patients.
The dental services that go to six to 10 patients a day, could double or triple in a new van with a dedicated dental clinic space. The goal is to add seven clinic days, Charlton said.
"We want to get that van as busy as possible," she said.
A $450,000 pledge from the Kahlert Foundation Inc. in Sykesville gave a big start to the $2 million campaign, which officially kicked off this week. Kahlert also gives $25,000 annually to the general fund, Charlton said.
“We are ramping up ... because we feel that there's going to be needs for our services,” she said. “I see dental as a big opportunity for us to serve."
She said for some people on a fixed income, even $10 for a doctor visit is too high.
“We take for granted that people should be able to pay,” she said. “It's just that the numbers don't work.”
Follow Patti Borda Mullins on Twitter: @FNP_Patti.
Mission of Mercy capital campaign
Details: 301-682-5683; www.amissionofmercy.org