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A promising partnership

Last Modified: 1/07/2020


In their partnership, Parkview and Matthew 25 have a shared goal of improving health while providing the best possible patient-centered care to everyone, every day, no matter their ability to pay. With the assistance of Sarah Giaquinta, MD, vice president of Community Health for Parkview Health, Jill McAllister, community benefit manager, Parkview Health, and Mark Dixon, chief executive officer, Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic, we were able to explore this unique relationship, hear their thoughts regarding the collaboration and take a closer look at the profound effect it has on the community.

What is Matthew 25?

Mark: Matthew 25 (M25) is a free clinic, serving the poor and underinsured in northeast Indiana and four counties in northwest Ohio. We provide medical, dental, vision, medications, specialty clinics, supplies, health education classes centered around nutrition and mental health counseling at no cost to our patients.

We act as a bridge to assist people with healthcare and medications while they are between jobs or between employee offered insurance plans. Most of our patients though are working poor. Their income is too high to be eligible for food stamps or Medicaid, so their income goes toward housing and food first, then transportation with medical and dental health, including medication needs, being last on their list.

We do not exclude anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical and/or mental abilities from full participation in our organization. Potential patients are screened for eligibility. They must be residents of one of the 15 counties we serve, have no health insurance, and must meet the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The clinic does not accept any form of health insurance or government assistance. All costs for the clinic are covered from monetary donations and in-kind donations.

Why are these services so important?

Mark: In 2019, M25 had approximately 39,000 patient visits for people that simply did not have any other place to go. Many are amongst the working poor and cannot afford insurance. This is a tremendous safety net for thousands of people in our community, keeping them healthy and out of emergency departments which allows them to continue being productive members of society.

What does it mean for residents to have access to healthcare?

Mark: In many cases, it's critically important. Like so many in society, we see people who suffer from chronic conditions that require medical attention and intervention. Without it, their situations become very dire.


What is Parkview's role with M25?

Sarah: Parkview contributes in several ways, including donating directing to M25, funding labs done on-site and providing treatment for patients if they require treatment M25 can’t do within their facility. For example, M25 provides the initial primary care, like visits and/or labs, but if a patient needs imaging, is acutely ill and goes to the emergency department or needs specialty care, they would be referred or routed to Parkview where they would receive free or reduced-cost care.

Also, we recognize, from a community standpoint, if M25 wasn’t providing these services then Parkview would. M25 provides excellent primary care to an underserved population. It’s our absolute pleasure to support them because there’s a huge need for it in Allen and surrounding counties.

Why does this partnership make sense for Parkview?

Sarah: We’re committed to the community. We have a responsibility to care for the uninsured or vulnerable patients just as much as we do for the insured, if not more.

What does the support from Parkview mean to M25?

Mark: The support from Parkview has been foundational in the sustainability of the clinic. Not only Parkview’s role in assisting the clinic financially, but also with programs and professionals volunteering here has truly been critical to the clinic’s day to day operation. I will always be grateful to the people of Parkview and their faithful support of M25.

Why is this partnership beneficial to both parties?

Sarah: M25 is a well-oiled machine and can provide excellent primary care to adults who are not insured, keeping them healthier and out of the emergency department or inpatient settings. It’s also the right thing to do.

Why does Parkview choose to support community programs like Matthew 25?

Jill: Simply put, it’s our mission. We’re all on the same page and in the same community. We need to support one another. Parkview’s mission is to improve your health and inspire you to take steps to improve your well-being.

Sarah: At Parkview, you see the importance of contributing to the community from the top down. It’s ingrained in the culture here and I think that’s pretty unique. We all recognize that your health is dependent on so much more than what you can get in one or two visits a year with your doctor and it’s our responsibility to improve health, which means we must go outside of our hospital walls – supporting community agencies that can provide those services while building the community up. That is bigger and more important, in maintaining health, than what we can do within our hospital walls.

Also, a lot of those community agencies do things that we don’t do. It’s important to have a comprehensive picture of what do we need to do to improve health. We can’t be everything to all people, but we can support the agencies and have partnerships with those that can fill in those gaps.

Do you have a story you can share that illustrates the impact of this partnership?

Mark: During my five-plus years here, there have simply been too many events that have occurred between this clinic and Parkview and I would be hesitant to point out just one. The support that M25 has from Parkview is a relationship that jumped out to me from my very first days at the clinic. Many may think it is only financial support. But the relationship goes much farther than that. I think it’s worthy to note some of the most significant contributions:

  • Providing laboratory and imaging services at no charge to our referred patients
  • Largest single supporter of our capital campaign to build our patient education center
  • IT support for our electronic medical records and voice-dictation services
  • Support from the Executive Group on projects taking place at the clinic
  • Healthcare Volunteers to include, physicians, nurses, dieticians, and more
  • Annual financial support that contributes to underwriting the day to day operation of the clinic

There are certainly more items to mention, but my point is, without the Parkview relationship, M25’s ability to serve the thousands of people that come here would be in jeopardy. We’re truly fortunate to live in a community that offers the services of M25, but perhaps more fortunate to have an organization like Parkview that genuinely cares about this community and the people that live in it.


Defining Community Health Improvement

Parkview’s Community Health Improvement Program is an integral part of the health system’s fulfillment of its mission, “to improve the health and inspire the well-being of our communities”, especially for the underserved. The community health improvement program committee oversees the functions of the program, which engages in three primary activities including completion of a triennial community health needs assessment, annual reporting of community benefit to the Indiana State Department of Health and the IRS and administering a funding program for health programs and initiatives that help to address identified community health needs. 

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