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?

Introducing our new website

This year, we’ve expanded to reach new communities throughout Kansas — with more on the way. To better serve our increasingly diverse audience of patients and community partners, we've launched a new website.

This new website puts patients first. It is easier to read and navigate on the computer of your choosing — whether a traditional PC or one that fits in your pocket.

 Did you know about half of all Americans have some sort of vision impairment? That's one reason we've made our new website easier to read on handheld devices.

Did you know about half of all Americans have some sort of vision impairment? That's one reason we've made our new website easier to read on handheld devices.

You can also quickly find the clinic nearest to you, and each clinic page will include profiles of our providers to give you a better picture of the people who provide care for you and your family.

We've also introduced an in-depth history of GraceMed to tell the story of our how our ministry’s humble beginnings in a 3rd floor classroom at St. Paul's Methodist Church.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll update our news feed regularly, and we’ll add more features to the website, such as interactive forms for you to share your feedback and let us know how we can better serve you. 

We hope you’ll visit us regularly to look for what’s new on our site and what’s new in our continuing mission to serve the underserved at GraceMed. 

To keep up with future news, subscribe to our newsletter. You'll get the latest on upcoming events, like our upcoming Thanksgiving Say Grace Race, delivered right to your inbox. 

NewsKyle Bowen
Coming to McPherson: GraceMed makes its first foray into rural Kansas

There are more than 8,000 low-income residents living in and around McPherson, Kansas. Many of them are living without health insurance. When they need medical care, they have to drive to Hutchinson, Newton or Salina – or they visit the ER at McPherson Hospital. Those who have insurance often have to leave town as well because local private practices don't have the capacity to accept new patients.

It’s just the kind of underserved environment that demands a provider like GraceMed.

Selected by a group of community leaders headed by the McPherson Healthcare Foundation, we'll be moving into a new location on Main Street in the spring of 2017.  The building is the historic site of the James Smalley & Company Seed Building, constructed in 1888. Restoration is now underway, and our new clinic will be the anchor tenant on the first floor when the work is complete.

The clinic will offer both medical and dental services. Delta Dental has donated $50,000 for the purchase of dental equipment for the expansion. Another $250,000 grant from an anonymous donor is also helping to make the move into McPherson possible.

If you're in the McPherson area and would like to know when the new clinic will open, sign up for our newsletter.

We have proven our ability, not only to serve underserved patients well, but to take our practice model to diverse locations and implement it successfully. We’ve expanded throughout Wichita’s underserved neighborhoods. We’re growing in Topeka. Now we’re looking for more rural Kansas communities where we can help.
— Dave Sanford, CEO
NewsKyle Bowen