The inaugural print edition of GPconnect, mailed to Great Plains United Methodists in early May, 2014, included a story on the work of United Methodist Mexican American Ministries (UMMAM) in southwest Kansas. Here's the rest of the story plus photos.
Can't see the photo slideshow above? Check out the entire album of UMMAM photos on Flickr.
Sarah Trapp, the enabling services manager at United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries, shares UMMAM's history, what they are doing now and how they can continue serving Southwest Kansas in the future.
Dorothy Mesa, the executive secretary for United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries, shares a story about giving back. One client received assistance from UMMAM through their food bank. He remembered UMMAM and later, when he was able, made sure to support the program that helped him and others who are in need.
UMMAM takes an all-inclusive yet tailored approach to meeting the diverse healthcare needs of the people in their broad service area. The agency’s FQHCs welcome everyone, regardless of ability to pay or health insurance status, and offer comprehensive outpatient care to all ages, including treatment of illness and injuries, wellness and preventive care, prenatal/postnatal care, immunizations and health education. All clinic support staff members are bilingual in English and Spanish with translators available on dedicated days each week to accommodate Burmese, Somali and Low German patients. Affordable Care Act “navigators” based at the Garden City and Liberal medical clinics travel throughout UMMAM’s service region to assist uninsured patrons in understanding and enrolling for coverage via the online Health Insurance Marketplace.
Located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), FQHCs are a critical component of the healthcare safety net, particularly in rural areas. Most FQHCs in Kansas are spread across the eastern half of the state. The closest FQHC to UMMAM is located in Hays, Kansas, 140 miles away. A similar problem with access to safety net healthcare plagues western Nebraska, also a part of the Great Plains Conference, where FQHCs are dispersed primarily on the far eastern side of the state.
Today, UMMAM is working diligently to raise awareness of its services and availability among others in the area’s healthcare community, and establish regular dialogue and strategic partnerships with local providers to enable the highest quality of care. The Garden City medical clinic, for example, recently formed a partnership with a group of five Family Practice physicians to collaborate with its midlevel practitioner team and provide dedicated call coverage for OB patient deliveries at the local hospital, circumventing the situation of laboring moms being admitted through the ER and assuring particularly high-risk patients the best possible care.
One of UMMAM’s programs – Lifetime Smiles – sends Registered Dental Hygienists with the project coordinator into public schools, preschools, family literacy programs and other outreach settings across southwest Kansas to perform visual oral screenings, fluoride varnishes, and sealants, and distribute toothbrushes and toothpaste. Alicia Dianda, UMMAM’s dental practice manager, reports that more than 10,000 students benefited from these efforts in 2013. The project increases public awareness about oral health issues and offers preventive information while improving access to dental health services.
Each year UMMAM’s Early Detection Works (EDW) provides more than 700 mammograms and clinical breast exams at no charge to women ages 40-60 who are uninsured and meet low-income guidelines. One patient in this program, Dora Nieto, discovered a lump on her breast and sought care through UMMAM and eventually received an ultrasound and biopsy at no cost to her. When breast cancer was discovered, the ministry helped Nieto apply for a medical card to cover cancer treatments.
"Without the help of our program, she might not have received the help she needed to catch the cancer at an early stage. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know we have helped someone through our services and helped save a life,” said EDW coordinator Lauren Base, also a registered nurse.
More information from the National Association of Community Health Centers:
More information from Feeding America: