Marram Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), has identified new opportunities to help the community live healthier, happier lives and access the healthcare they need, regardless of their ability to pay. The results are a recent expansion of services and patient care/office space in Gary.
“Marram Health Center has seen tremendous growth over the past few years,” said Aileen Wehren, Vice President of Systems Administration at Porter-Starke Services, which operates Marram. “By investing in our facility and recruiting more providers, we’re able to continue to expand services for our current patients and increase access to healthcare.”
Since its opening in 2015, the Gary clinic serves more than 3,000 individuals annually with family practice, pediatrics, obstetrics, psychiatry, mental health and addictions counseling, chiropractic care, and dental care. The expansion has allowed for more exam rooms, an on-site pharmacy, and an expanded reception area.
The medical and dental offices remain at University Park Medical Center located at 3229 Broadway in Gary, Ind., but the medical offices have been relocated and connected to the existing dental office on the first floor of the clinic.
“In looking at levels of need in the surrounding communities it was clear that Gary, despite having high-quality primary care providers, still had a need that was not being filled,” said Clarence Boykin, Vice President of Marram Health Center. “We wanted to complement the existing services, provide another option to the community, and provide services that were specifically geared toward engagement of the homeless.”
Keeping their commitment to building healthy communities, Marram Health Center also assists patients with enrolling in Indiana Medicaid and marketplace insurance programs and provides patients with scheduled vaccinations, flu shots, and health education. The center also takes an active part in homeless outreach programs, offers free pregnancy testing, transportation support, and care coordination/case management.
All of this is in addition to their community outreach programs that include free health screenings.
“Marram continues to offer high-quality comprehensive care that is respectful of and sensitive to the needs of our patients. We work hard to support our patients and meet all of their needs,” Boykin said. “Our Out and About clinics bring care into the community – to the patients directly – instead of expecting them to always come to the health center. We understand that our patients have many life challenges that inhibit their ability to come to the center.”
Marram Health Center’s impact on its community has been made possible in part by many partnerships and generous grants from surrounding organizations. Marram was awarded a Health Service Resource Administration (HRSA) grant to originally open the clinic and earned a second award in November 2016 to add dental care.
“Since then, we have received grants that help support specific services and continue to earn the income needed to support the clinic through our service delivery,” Boykin said.
In addition, Marram Health Center works with other organizations to meet health needs, including Methodist Hospitals, the Gary Health Department, Continuum of Care Network, Gary Neighborhood Center, Sojourner Truth House, homeless shelters, Northshore Community Health Centers, and others.
“Marram is a strong believer in community partnerships as we have the shared goal of the Gary community becoming healthier in all ways – Improved quality of life, better life satisfaction, medically, dentally, and in terms of mental health,” Boykin said.
The expansion of space and services will enable Marram Health Center to continue to help patients prevent or manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and to help decrease issues like childhood obesity. They also focus on improving neonatal outcomes, decreasing depression, and a host of other specific outcomes.
“We want to help meet or influence the broader needs of our patients including access to healthy foods, improved economic wellbeing, better educational opportunities, and improved housing,” Boykin said. “We want to achieve good health in a healthy community.”
Recently, Marram received a grant through the Legacy Foundation to help identify and provide additional services to patients with uncontrolled diabetes. The program included diabetes education, self-management tools, how to meal plan on a budget, and a membership to the Gary YWCA, which gave patients in the program access to the gym, pool, and exercise classes.
“We had great health outcomes. One patient lost a great deal of weight and not only was able to bring her blood sugar into normal limits but also brought her blood pressure down within normal limits,” Boykin said. “Her outlook on life changed from pessimistic to positive because she felt good again.”
For more information on Marram Health Center, visit http://www.marramhealth.org/.