With a 37-year history of providing accessible health care to the Wichita area, GraceMed is expanding to Kansas’ capital city.
In mid-June, United Methodist Church-affiliated ministry GraceMed received a $1.053 million federal grant making it the designated health care provider in Shawnee County and privatizing health care in the county.
GraceMed CEO Dave Sanford said discussions have been taking place for more than two years.
“We felt like expansion into Topeka would be a positive thing for the community and would be something we would be able to handle from a business perspective,” Sanford said.
Two locations – GraceMed Capital Family Clinic and GraceMed Highland Park Family Clinic – are expected to open July 1.
“Everybody is all-hands-on-deck right now to get this transition completed by that time,” Sanford said.
GraceMed operates eight clinics in Wichita that provide health care, dental, vision, behavioral health and pharmacy services and last year served 36,000 unique patients, Sanford said. GraceMed would inherit 5,000 health care patients with the transition, he said, with a projection of 25,000 in five years by adding dental and vision coverage, a pharmacy and expanding behavioral health services.
“This is one of the most significant things to happen in Shawnee County in years and years,” Commissioner Bob Archer said of the announcement, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Sanford said that, aside from a new name and phone number, patients shouldn’t notice a big change at the clinics.
“They’ll most likely retain the same provider, because all of the staff at the current organization is moving to GraceMed,” he said. “The only thing that will really change is a different phone number, effective July 1, to use to make appointments. It’ll still be sliding fee scale for uninsured patients, and we’ll continue to take Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance.”
GraceMed, Sanford said, will likely be looking for larger facilities in Topeka. A Kansas City-based firm has been hired to do community capacity study, which would determine need and interest for expansion.
“Our desire is to take the base that already exists in Topeka and continue to grow it so we can serve more residents of that community,” he said.
GraceMed is one of 22 mission agencies that have a connection with the Great Plains United Methodist Conference, supported by allocations raised from individual churches.
Expanding into Topeka, Sanford said, “really helps us fulfill our mission.”
“We have been focused on south central Kansas and reaching out in the greater Wichita area. When this came up, our board talked about, ‘What is our mission? It is to make sure people have quality health care, regardless of their financial health insurance situation.’
“This helps us basically move the mission even further forward to we can minister to people in need in Shawnee County as well as Sedgwick County,” he said.
Plans are already under way for a new GraceMed location in McPherson, to be opened late this year or early 2017, Sanford added.
Contact David Burke, Great Plains Conference communications coordinator, at email@example.com.