It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years since Mission of Mercy began serving patients in Carroll County. Westminster’s Human Services Programs building was one of our first clinic sites. We conducted patient registration, triage and dental services on the first floor of the building, with our first mobile medical unit parked right outside of the Barrel House.
In the ensuing quarter-century, we have treated more than 12,000 medical and dental patients in Carroll County during 62,000 patient visits. These people were — and are — your neighbors, many of whom are working two and three jobs and are not offered insurance, or who are not able to afford the co-pays or deductibles with the insurance they do have. They need that money to pay for their rent and to purchase food, fuel, and other life necessities.
When the Carroll County Health Department and Carroll Hospital partnered to create Access Carroll to address the needs of the many uninsured and underinsured patients who present at all three of our programs, we were pleased to move our mobile clinics to Taneytown. This has enabled us to continue to serve those who suffer from chronic health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, and who need dental extractions, fillings and oral health care. In 2019 alone, we had more than 1,000 patient visits in Taneytown.
Mission of Mercy does not rely on government support, nor do we charge our patients for our medical and dental services or medications. But thanks to the continued generosity of the Carroll County community, we have been able to provide these patients with free health care and dental care. We can also offer them many prescription medications at no cost.
Our dedicated mobile dental unit is now one year old. Our patients and staff truly believe that this new state-of-the art mobile unit helps us to live our mission to restore dignity and healing through love. It enables us to double the number of patients we can see, but we are limited by our ability to secure the services of additional volunteer dentists. If you know of someone who could donate one Wednesday a month to our patients, please let us know.
Throughout our time in Carroll County, we have sincerely enjoyed and appreciated the collaborative relationships we have with Access Carroll, which sometimes refers patients to our Taneytown clinic; with Carroll Hospital, which provides lab and X-ray services for our patients; and with the Carroll County Health Department, which sends representatives to our clinic site in Taneytown to promote our patients programs such as smoking cessation.
We are grateful to work with these organizations to provide a continuum of care for those most in need in Carroll County. Like us at Mission of Mercy, they have always responded to the needs of our citizens who are disenfranchised and who “fall through the cracks” of the health care system.
As a longtime resident of Westminster, I am also extremely proud of our community’s generosity and especially grateful to those who have supported, and who continue to support, Mission of Mercy in Carroll County.
Linda Ryan is executive director of Mission of Mercy.
Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”