Published on October 11, 2013

Unveiling Health on Wheels

Baptist Memorial Health Care and Christ Community Health Services roll out new way to continue to help homeless in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - For 10 years, it's been called "The Van," but now the homeless in Memphis are calling it "The Bus." Others call it an answer to prayers.

"Our mobile clinic was having problems staying mobile, and without being able to travel four days a week to homeless shelters, it was becoming more and more difficult to help those we serve," Jan Taylor, the program director of Baptist Operation Outreach in partnership with Christ Community Health Services, said. "Our van is now a mobile clinic bus with two large patient rooms and more storage to provide the care our patients need."

Last year Baptist Operation Outreach served more than 3,000 patient visits providing primary care across the city in the mobile clinic. "The face of the homeless are changing, and it's our job year-round to help those living on our streets become healthier and find permanent housing," Stephen Reynolds, CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care, said. "Giving primary care to the homeless is our signature cause at Baptist."

At the event unveiling the new mobile clinic bus in Court Square, Mayor AC Wharton thanked Baptist Memorial Health Care and Christ Community Health Services for their work serving the homeless. He also recognized Baptist for being recognized as the top homeless care hospital system provider in the nation Hospital Charitable Services Awards.

One of the many success stories is Grace Hilton-Young, a woman who was formerly homeless who now works for Baptist Operation Outreach as a patient advocate.

"Grace's inspirational story allows our patients see that we can help them," Dr. Rick Donlon, the CEO of Christ Community Health Services, said. "Grace says it's by the grace of God that she was brought to receive care in our mobile clinic. That's why we work every day to provide help to those in need who live on our streets."

Baptist Memorial Health Care formed the program with Christ Community Health Services as part of their mission of healing, preaching and teaching from the three-fold ministry of Christ.

One of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the United States, Baptist Memorial Health Care offers a full continuum of care to communities throughout the Mid-South. The Baptist system, which consistently ranks among the top integrated health care networks in the nation, comprises 14 affiliate hospitals in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas; more than 4,000 affiliated physicians; a physician management group; home, hospice and psychiatric care; minor medical centers and clinics; a network of surgery, rehabilitation and other outpatient centers; and an education system highlighted by the Baptist College of Health Sciences. Baptist has more than 2,300 licensed beds systemwide, employs more than 12,000 people and has approximately 85,000 admissions annually. In fiscal year 2011, Baptist provided $169 million in community benefit to the communities it serves.

For more information about Baptist, please visit www.baptistonline.org or call 800-4-BAPTIST.

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