Federal grant helps children’s clinic expand into adult care

Federal grant helps children's clinic expand into adult care (Image 1)

A federal grant will help Mercy Children's Clinic to soon expand and offer care to adults.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently designated the faith-based, not-for-profit clinic as a Federally Qualified Health Center and awarded it a renewable grant of $650,000.

The money will go a long way toward expanding the clinic.

“We'll be able to provide adult chronic disease management, adult preventative care, adult mental health services, as well as adult care coordination,” said Chief Medical Officer Deanna Bell.

Mercy Children's Clinic currently offers primary, mental, disease management healthcare to children who are medically underserved, either without access to or money for medical care.

“People with commercial insurance or Medicaid can come to Mercy,” Bell said. “But we also see people who are uninsured, and they are seen on a sliding scale co-pay basis, based on the federal poverty level.”

Melinda Holt, a married mother of three, has been taken her young boys to the clinic since leaving her job four years ago to be a stay-at-home mom.

“Mercy Children's Clinic has been a great opportunity for us to have pediatric care that does not cost a lot of money,” Holt said. “Our pediatrician that we saw when I still had insurance through my work, we went to him after that was out and we were looking at $250 before vaccinations, a well-child check-up.”

Located in a shopping center on Murfreesboro Road in Franklin, the clinic is suited for kids, with Disney movies playing in the waiting room and colorful exam rooms. The kid-friendly decor will stay in the main building, and a separate office will be opened within the same plaza for adults. The clinic will also staff more doctors, nurses, therapists, and case workers.

“They're going to get the best care there that you can get anywhere. That's regardless of their insurance status,” Bell said.

Since the clinic began in 1999, services have been provided to more than 10,000 children from 30 counties in Middle Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.

The federal grant will allow the clinic to focus on the federally designated Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) of rural Williamson, Maury, Hickman and Marshall Counties.

Adult services are expected to begin November 2012.

For more information on Mercy Children's Clinic, visit their Web site.

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