Project Wellspring Meets Mabee Challenge

GraceMed has raised the $3.44 million of its $3.94 million campaign goal for Project Wellspring, which we needed to meet the $500,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation. An additional donation from Stormont-Vail Health helped to ensure GraceMed met the challenge and received the grant funding from the foundation.

“GraceMed is such an important partner in our community,” said Randy Peterson, Stormont Vail Health President & CEO. “Being able to provide additional financial support to help them secure the Mabee funds, along with a number of other community organizations and individuals, better ensures access to quality healthcare for anyone in need.”

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The new clinic at 1400 SW Huntoon serves as Topeka’s hub clinic for operations.

The 23,000 square foot Capitol Family Clinic, built on the framework of what was once a grocery store, expands GraceMed’s total capacity for service in Topeka to 10,000 patients per year. It replaces our previous location on the grounds of Stormont Vail Hospital. We continue to see patients at our Highland Park Family Clinic.

The support GraceMed has received from the community has been tremendous. Building this clinic in the heart of Topeka and offering high-quality healthcare ensures we will be able to better meet the needs of the community for years to come.
— Dave Sanford, GraceMed Chief Executive Officer

GraceMed received a $1 million grant from the Health Resources Services Administration, followed by commitments from the Shawnee County Board of County Commissioners, Stormont Vail Health and the St. Francis Foundation/SCL.

In April 2017, the capital campaign officially launched Project Wellspring and the Capitol Federal® Foundation kicked things off with a $500,000 donation, which was followed by substantial gifts from Security Benefit Corporation, the Lewis H. Humphreys Charitable Trust, Sunderland Foundation, AIM 5 Foundation, Kansas Gas Service, as well as numerous individuals.

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The clinic opened in mid-August of 2018 while the capital campaign was still pursuing its final goal.

A list of donors is being prepared for release soon. We will also recognize donors on a permanent display, the Hopecare Cross, in the patient waiting area. We will hold an event in appreciation of our Wellspring contributors in the spring.

If you would like to contribute to Project Wellspring and participate in our spring event, it's not too late to make a donation. We can apply your gift toward our stretch goal to build our first school-based clinic in Topeka. You can make a tax-deductible donation below as a part of your end-of-year giving.

Here’s to a healthy school year with Dr. Jepson

With the new school year underway, we asked Pediatrician Lance Jepson how parents can help keep their kids healthy.

What are some things parents can do to help protect their kids from health risks during the school year?

Dr. Jepson: One of the best things that parents can do is make sure kids are getting their recommended immunizations. Also make sure you’re encouraging good hand hygiene. And when they do get an illness, encourage them to cover a cough appropriately, use tissues, and wash their hands after they do. It’s not just about washing hands, but also washing them well. Have them sing the “Happy Birthday” song two times while they wash to make sure they’ve washed long enough.

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Dr. Jepson is a pediatrician at our Topeka clinics.

Dr. Jepson studied at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He loves watching the amazing changes children experience from early infancy through the teenage years. He finds it an honor to serve the residents of Kansas and to share the joy of child development with their parents. In his free time, Dr. Jepson likes spending time with his wife and two sons at museums and parks in the Kansas region.

Required immunizations are different for kids at different ages. Is there an easy way for parents to keep up with the schedules?

Visit the Center for Disease Control’s site. You can even do searches for vaccinations by your child’s age on some parent-specific sites and get the information you need.

 

Dr J’s ABCs of Classroom Health

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Always wash your hands before lunch.

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Be sure to get your vaccinations.

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Cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

 

How do parents know when to keep their children home from school or when to contact a doctor?

The biggest thing I’d watch for is fever, anything from 100.4°F or higher. Also if the child is vomiting, you should keep them out and away from other kids. And if they’re having any kind of of breathing difficulty as well. If they’re having any of these kinds of symptoms, you should follow up with your doctor for further evaluation.

It’s not uncommon to have fever in the first two to three days with viral illness. Early on you can usually just make sure they’re keeping fluids down and give them Tylenol® or ibuprofen as needed. If the fever goes beyond that time, or you’re having vomiting or breathing issues, we need to see that child. Many cases are viral, however, and antibiotics are not going to have any benefit. Home care can really be adequate for most viruses. If they are no longer having symptoms and are over their fever for 24 hours, they can generally return to school.

Are there things parents can do to encourage healthier lifestyles during the school year?

Healthy food choices are best, and it’s better to work together as a family on meal plans rather than just single out the kids. And if you establish those choices early on, it sets an example for the kids to follow when they grow up. Having meals together and turning off the tablets during meals is a good idea, too. The interaction with your kids is so important, so you can be aware of what’s happened in their day.

Asthma and allergies are a problem for a lot of kids. Anything parents can do to manage these risks better?

In households where there’s smoking, try to remove exposure. Removing smoke from the environment entirely is best because it gets into clothing and hair which triggers asthma and allergies. Make sure air filters are changed regularly. Also guard against moisture that can develop mold. And now that we’re into fall, we tend to want to open windows. But remember the air outside with elevated ragweed count can be a trigger as well.


Resources to help children cope with school-related stress

Dr. Jepson and Rita Zeller, our Behavioral Health Consultant, have identified the following list of resources that can be helpful to help children cope with the stress that can come with a school year. Some of these resources are free, while others may have a fee associated with them. 

Project Wellspring’s rising fundraising tide lifts all hopes for affordable healthcare

Imagine you’re living in a central Topeka household with an income of less than $1,000 per month for a single person. Or you’re a family of four making only $2,050 a month.

Making ends meet can obviously be a challenge. You or a family member are likely to get sick more often than people living in more affluent zip codes. And if you’re lucky enough to have health insurance, it probably comes with a deductible so high, you wonder why you pay the premiums.

If you’re uninsured or underinsured, you have virtually no affordable options to get the care you need — until now.

GraceMed to the Rescue

There’s a plan in place to change all that. It’s called Project Wellspring, and it began early in 2016 with the purchase of the property at 1400 S.W. Huntoon that once was a Dillons grocery store.

Our vision for the property is to create a center for holistic healthcare that will also help to revive the quality of life in Tennessee Town and other Central Topeka neighborhoods. With more than 23,000 square feet, we will be able to move our Capitol Family Clinic, currently located near Stormont Vail, into a facility that also offers dental, vision and behavioral health care as well as an in-house pharmacy. Beyond that, we have undeveloped room on the property that we envision could be made available for other health-related businesses or organizations.

— Dave Sanford, GraceMed CEO

GraceMed is a faith-based health care provider. We accept all patients regardless of their ability to pay. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, we accept Medicare and Medicaid, and patients who have no insurance can qualify for reduced fees based on their income.

The community springs into action

Alice Weingartner, GraceMed's director of community development in Topeka, has led the campaign to fund the renovations necessary to turn a grocery store into a health clinic. As the drive enters 2018, she is happy to report that a “wellspring” of what GraceMed calls “hopecare” is close to erupting.

We were blessed to have the early support of community leaders like Stormont Vail, the Shawnee County Commission, the St. Francis Foundation and the Capitol Federal Foundation. We met more than 74% of our $3.94 million goal within the first year of our campaign. Then we were fortunate to receive a challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation. Receiving this award essentially reduces the amount we still need to raise by $500,000.

— Alice Weingartner

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There are currently 25,000 Topekans who are considered to be medically underserved. The completion of this clinic will put GraceMed in a position to serve a significant number of them.

Left: GraceMed Director of Community Development Alice Weingartner and CEO Dave Sanford

In Wichita, GraceMed has established a partnership with local school districts to operate seven of its 12 clinics on school grounds.

“Project Wellspring has a stretch goal to raise an additional $930,000 that will enable us to build our first school clinic in Topeka,” Weingartner explained. “It’s a great way to build relationships with underserved families and help the schools with their healthcare needs at the same time. We’ve worked with the district to identify a good location for the first school-based clinic and anticipate it being located at the State Street Elementary and Chase Middle School campus in Topeka’s Oakland neighborhood.”

Hopecare Is Contagious

As GraceMed’s CEO will tell you, the impact of greater access to healthcare can be measured, not just in the quality of the lives of the patients, but also in a number of other ways.

As underserved patients get healthier, families are strengthened, the productivity of the workforce improves as does the economic health of an entire community. Then there’s the overall cost of healthcare for everyone which should be lower when fewer people are using emergency rooms as their doctor’s office.
— Dave Sanford, GraceMed CEO

While this is first and foremost a project to build a much-needed community health clinic, it is also an opportunity to complement the renewal of the proudly historic Tennessee Town neighborhood.

“In addition to being our state Capitol, Topeka has a rich history,” said Vince Frye, President & CEO of Downtown Topeka, Inc. “This new initiative is a great way to bring some fresh life to a part of our city that has always been important in that history. The residents there are really invested in their neighborhood’s health, and GraceMed’s presence will be an enormous enhancement.”

Would You like to Help Bring Quality Healthcare to Central Topeka?

Please make a donation online or contact Alice Weingartner at (785) 478-5901 or aweingartner@gracemed.org.

 
 
Give Your Kids Their Best Shot at a Healthy School Year

Summer goes by in a blur, doesn’t it? 

It seems like the kids just got out of school and all too soon they are headed back again. Back-to-school is a busy time at GraceMed, too. That’s because the schools require your kids to have their vaccinations up to date to be able to return to school. Each year, GraceMed provides those vaccinations for thousands of students. And each year, we remind parents that it’s a good idea to avoid the rush and come in for shots as early as you can

This year, former GraceMed employee and current Miss Kansas, Krystian Fish is helping us spread the word: Beat the crowd and have your children vaccinated this summer at your local GraceMed clinic. During your appointment, we can also provide the physicals your school may require for your child to participate in sports. 

Kyle Bowen
An Oasis of Care Comes to a Medical Desert
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Ablah Family Clinic will transform healthcare for residents of south Wichita.

The new facility will serve as many as 10,000 patients each year.

Wichita's south side has had too few health clinics for too long. As a result, the residents of that area have had more health issues than are typical of other Wichita neighborhoods.

GraceMed is changing that reality with the opening of our 12th clinic on the grounds of the Devore South YMCA.

Thanks to the generosity of contributors to our Project Oasis capital campaign, the 15,600 square-foot Virginia & George Ablah Family Clinic is opening April 12th. The clinic will provide primary medical and dental care for thousands of uninsured and underinsured Wichitans as well as privately insured and Medicare/Medicaid patients.

Services will include:

  • Primary care
  • Pediatrics
  • Immunizations
  • Wellness & Prevention Exams & Screenings
  • Disease & Chronic Illness Management
  • Preventative & Restorative Dental Care
  • Behavioral Health Counseling
  • Optometry (Coming soon)
  • Pharmacy (Coming soon)

The clinic is designed to be a holistic, medical home for our patients, providing a one-stop experience of all the care your family would typically be expected to need.

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Virginia & George Ablah Family Clinic

The GraceMed Ablah Clinic has 17 exam rooms, seven dental operators and room for expansion into optometry and an in-clinic pharmacy.

 

Would you like to be notified when the new GraceMed Ablah Clinic opens?