It began in the heart of local doctor Tom Goodman...a man who witnessed all the “solutions” to healthcare for lower income communities, yet saw how far too many were slipping through the cracks with no healthcare at all. So, he decided to do something about it.
He and volunteers from Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church started a clinic at a church on Bell Street in downtown Montgomery and cared for those who didn’t have healthcare. In 1998, Mike DeBore, CEO of Baptist Health, approached Dr. Goodman and asked if he would like to partner together on this mission. It was then that Medical Outreach Ministries was born.
The ministry sees adults ages 19-64 who are completely uninsured, living at the 200% federal poverty level. This ministry acts like any ordinary doctor’s office in a sense that there are files for every patient and providers for each patient.
Chris Anderson, RN with Medical Outreach explains, “While the poorest of the poor may be eligible for Medicaid or other public assistance, there are many uninsured persons in our community who fall through the cracks of the healthcare system. Their only access to a physician for even the most common illnesses is often through the local emergency rooms. Through financial and volunteer contributions, Medical Outreach Ministries is able to improve access to medical care for these needy members of our community.”
The remarkable thing about MOM is that last year they had 9,539 patient visits, with about 1,100 being unique patients. There are five full time employees and two part time. The beautiful aspect of this ministry is that it is a volunteer driven organization. Seventy volunteers treat this place like a paying job. All volunteers are specifically assigned different areas to work...everything needed in a healthcare office, from clerical to clinical. Pharmaceutical partnerships within MOM allow the ministry to be able to give their medications free of charge to the patients.
MOM is able to provide excellent healthcare to those in need thanks to the 13 volunteer physicians who offer their time, energy and effort to helping those who need great care. All physicians, but one, are retired and spending their retired days loving others in the name of Jesus through the profession they know best. These incredible volunteers are working with patient loads just like the ones they had when they were in private practice work. There is also a paid nurse practitioner on staff who is beloved and truly treasured by the ministry.
Another group of volunteers comes to early morning patient screenings to meet the patients and share the Gospel. Alongside the outreach volunteers, another group shares in loving the patients through prayer and petition before the Lord. Every Monday afternoon this group of volunteers comes to the office to pray over the requests that patients make throughout the week. They dedicate their time and energy praying for the people coming in and out of the office.
MOM recently received its ADA
Recognition for Diabetes
Self Management Education
Mary Wisdom, a local data specialist, came to MOM last spring, and helped the ministry apply for ADA recognition. They were able to receive the recognition on August 4th. Medical Outreach Ministries is the only program in the country that is volunteer staffed and exists solely to provide Diabetes Self Management education to low income, uninsured people. This accomplishment is not only a big deal to our city, but our state. In addition to the 13 volunteer providers, they have 15 volunteer nurses and medical assistants, 6 volunteer pharmacists, 2 volunteer mental health counselors and 1 volunteer diabetes educator. That is a very comprehensive team to supply what they need for their patients.
In the state of Alabama, the rate of people battling diabetes is high. At Medical Outreach Ministries, 1 in 4 patients has diabetes and does not know how to manage it well, if at all. The recognition from the ADA is a major success for the ministry, allowing them to reach more and more in the tri-county area.
“This is a place that offers dignity to a community of people who tend to not get much of that,” explains Chris Anderson, Diabetes Educator at MOM. When asking Chris about the ministry and how she sees the kingdom of God moving, she shared a story of one her patients and their reaction to the love they felt while being treated at MOM. The patients words: “You know, I’ve never been to a place like this before.” Chris replied, “How do you mean?” The patient replied, “Everybody here is so kind and cares so much. I’ve never been treated so well at a doctor’s office before.” After sharing that response, Chris said, “When you do things in the name of Jesus, it better be excellent.” She’s right, and that is exactly what Medical Outreach Ministries is doing for their patients. “I feel Jesus in the halls of this place, that’s how incredible it is,” Chris shared.
Give and Get Involved
It is extraordinary the way that God has shown up and shown out for this ministry. It is a functioning, well developed team of people who are working diligently to make a difference in our community. If you have an interest in donating your time and/or resources to Medical Outreach Ministries and their work, visit www.MOMclinic.org to see how you can help. If you are engaged in a United Way campaign, Medical Outreach is number 48 on the United Way form. If you shop on Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com, and there is a drop down list that carries their name. If you click there, it gives 50% of your purchase to the ministry.
*Pictured: Nancy Hogan, MOM Executive Director, Chris Anderson, and Tommy West, MOM Board Chairman
Laura Bell is a freelance writer, born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. She enjoys spending time with her husband Cody and finding all reasons to find joy in life!