Helping Up Mission partners with GBMC to offer primary care

Editor’s note: The following article appeared on on March 25, 2019.

By Morgan Eichensehr

As Helping Up Mission Inc. expands to serve more homeless and drug-addicted Baltimoreans in Jonestown, the nonprofit is increasing onsite access to medical care through a partnership with Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Helping Up Mission has been working on a multi-building expansion project along the 1000 block of East Baltimore Street. CEO Robert Gehman said the organization currently serves about 500 men in residence, going through drug and alcohol recovery or struggling with poverty and homelessness.

Five years from now, about 200 women and 50 children will be added to the mix. That growing population is going to need access to primary health care services, Gehman said. That’s where GBMC comes in.

GBMC will operate a new primary care clinic for Helping Up Mission’s existing residents and their families, as well as its alumni and other community members. The hospital provides primary care services, including pediatric and family care, at 12 existing locations throughout Greater Baltimore. CEO Dr. John Chessare said GBMC has been seeking opportunities to expand its primary care footprint into poorer communities in the area, and found a ready partner in Helping Up Mission.

About $100,000 of the $230,000 funding needed for the upstart of the clinic has been provided through state funding, Gehman said. He said the organization is working to raise the remaining funding now, and hopes to have the clinic fully up and running by May.

The clinic will be housed in a building that used to be the site of Presbyterian Eye, Ear and Throat Charity Hospital, which ultimately evolved into GBMC as it exists today. Chessare said this new primary care clinic represents “a kind of homecoming” for his organization.

Chessare said GBMC will receive some budgetary incentives from the state’s rate-setting organization to expand primary care services to the poorer communities in Baltimore. The Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets revenue goals for each hospital in the state, is authorized to provide rate incentives for hospital projects aimed at producing greater efficiency and quality in the delivery of health care, or expanding health care access in needy communities.

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