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Mission of Mercy

Airdate: March 30, 2017
Mission of Mercy provides medical care and medications to underinsured and uninsured patients in the valley. Catherine Amiot, president and CEO for Mission of Mercy talks about how the organization is helping people in the community.

Guests:
  • Catherine Amiot - President and CEO for Mission of Mercy
Category: Medical/Health

Keywords: Sol Book Box, Healthcare, Free Healthcare, Under Insured, Poverty,

View Transcript
JOSE CARDENAS: MISSION OF MERCY IS AN ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES MEDICAL CARE AND MEDICATIONS TO UNDERINSURED AND UNINSURED PATIENTS IN THE VALLEY. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS IS CATHERINE AMIOT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR MISSION OF MERCY. GIVE US A QUICK OVERVIEW OF MISSION OF MERCY, STARTING WITH ITS HISTORY BECAUSE ITS BEEN AROUND FOR AWHILE.

CATHERINE AMIOT: THIS IS OUR 20TH YEAR SERVING THE VALLEY. WE HAVE A MOBILE MEDICAL ORGANIZATION, WE HAVE A NON-PROFIT AND PROVIDE FREE PRIMARY HEALTH CARE SERVICES AND MEDICATIONS TO MARICOPA COUNTY UNDERINSURED AND UNINSURED FAMILIES.

Jose: THE KEY THING IS IT IS A MOBILE SERVICE. WE HAVE A PICTURE WE WILL PUT ON THE SCREEN OF ONE OF THE UNITS THAT GOES OUT AND PROVIDES THESE SERVICES. TELL US ABOUT HOW THAT IS DONE. THIS IS, I THINK, THAT IS DR. HARPER IN FRONT.

CATHERINE AMIOT: OLIVER HARPER IS ONE OF OUR VOLUNTEER PHYSICIANS. THE WAY IT WORKS IS WE HAVE TWO MOBILE MEDICAL UNITS THAT ARE STOCKED WITH PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS AND THEY HAVE PRIVATE EXAM ROOM. THEN WE PARTNER WITH CHURCHES AND COMMUNITY CENTERS THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY WHO PROVIDE US WITH A LARGER SPACE AND WE SETUP VIRTUAL PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CLINICS WITHIN THESE DONATED FACILITIES. WE TREAT FOLKS THAT COME IN WHO DO NOT HAVE ANY OTHER ACCESS TO PRIMARY HEALTH CARE OR MEDICATIONS.

Jose: WE HAVE A PICTURE OF ONE OF THE PHYSICIANS OR MAYBE A NURSE CONSULTING WITH ONE OF THE PATIENTS. WE WILL PUT THAT UP, TOO. HOW DO THESE PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?

CATHERINE AMIOT: OUR VOLUNTEERS? IT IS WORD OF MOUTH. WE HAVE QUITE AN OUT REACH PROGRAM TO OUR FAITH COMMUNITY, WE HAVE FLOURISHING PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES, HOSPITALS IN THE AREA WHO ENCOUNTER FAMILIES IN NEED AND THEY WILL REFER PATIENTS OVER TO MISSION OF MERCY FOR SERVICES. THROUGH OUR OUTREACH PROGRAMS, PHYSICIANS AND OTHER MEDICAL PROVIDERS HEAR ABOUT US. MEDICAL STUDENTS, NURSING STUDENTS, AND SUCH, FOR EXAMPLE AND THEY MAKE CONTACT WITH US AND WE ARE ABLE TO BRING THEM INTO CLINICS AS VOLUNTEERS.

Jose: YOU MENTION YOU HAVE A PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENT WITH VARIOUS LOCATIONS WHERE YOU WILL PROVIDE THE SERVICES. WE HAVE ONE LAST PHOTOGRAPH WE WILL PUT ON THE SCREEN OF EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. THIS IS A SPACE WHERE THE TRAILER SHOWS UP, THE MOBILE UNIT, AND THEN YOU GO OUT THERE AND YOU MEET WITH THESE PEOPLE.

CATHERINE AMIOT: WE DO. WE DO. AS YOU CAN TELL BY THE PHOTO, WE ARE A FAITH-ROOTED ORGANIZATION AND WE REALLY DO VIEW THIS AS A MINISTRY AND A CALLING. WE DO PARTNER. OUR MODEL IS VERY MUCH ONE OF PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES. WE SELECT NEIGHBORHOODS OF TREMENDOUS UNMET NEED AND INABILITY FOR PATIENTS TO CONNECT WITH BASIC HEALTH CARE. WE WORK CLOSELY WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO IDENTIFY THE COMMUNITY AND IDENTIFY THROUGH THE HOSPITAL, SCHOOL SYSTEMS AND SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES TO REACH FAMILIES AND MAKE THEM AWARE OF OUR SERVICES.

Jose: AND HOW MANY SITES DO YOU PHYSICALLY VISITIN A WEEKLY OR MONTHLY BASIS?

CATHERINE AMIOT: WE HAVE A TOTAL OF SIX SITES THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY. THREE OF THEM WE VISIT EVERY WEEK AND THREE ARE SITES WE ROTATE EVERY OTHER WEEK. WE ARE ON THE ROAD FIVE DAYS A WEEK.

JOSE CARDENAS: YOU GET THE WORD OUT YOU WILL BE AT THE PARTICULAR SITE AT A PARTICULAR DAY IN TIME?

CATHERINE AMIOT: WE OPERATE ON AN APPOINTMENT BASIS OUR BECAUSE OUR PATIENTS ARE WORKING FAMILIES AND TIME AWAY FROM WORK IS DOLLARS OUT OF THEIR POCKET. SO WE WANT TO HONOR THEM AND RESTORE THEIR DIGNITY BY PROVIDING THEM WITH AN APPOINTMENT TIME JUST LIKE YOU AND I WOULD EXPECT WE GO TO DOCTORS. WE ARE WALK-INS THAT GATHER EARLY IN THE MORNING AND WE HAVE A TEAM ARRIVING BEFORE DAWN THAT WILL SETUP THE CLINIC AND TRIAGE THOSE PEOPLE. THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE AN IMMEDIATE NEED WE WILL FIND A WAY TO SEE THEM THAT DAY. THOSE WITH LESS PRESSING ISSUES WE WILL SCHEDULE THEM AN APPOINTMENT TIME.

Jose: YOU ADDING A COUPLE ADDITIONAL SITES?

CATHERINE AMIOT: WE ARE. TWO ADDITIONAL SITES IN THE EAST VALLEY. THE FIRST IN DOWNTOWN CHANDLER THIS FALL AND WE ARE COMMITTED TO JOIN A COLLABORATIVE SERVES IN DOWNTOWN GILBERT A YEAR FROM NOW.

Jose: WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE SERVICES?

CATHERINE AMIOT: THANK YOU FOR ASKING. WE HAVE A HUNDRED PERCENT PRIVATELY FUNDED. THIS PROVIDES US WITH A COUPLE THINGS THAT ARE REALLY IMPORTANT TO THIS CONVERSATION. I THINK THE FIRST ONE IS WE DON'T HAVE A PRE-QUALIFICATION PROCESS. ANYONE PRESENTING WITH NEED WE ARE ABLE TO TREAT. IT ALLOWS THE COMMUNITY TO STEP FORWARD AND BE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO THE HEALTH CARE GAP THAT SO MANY FAMILIES ARE FACING. ONE IN FOUR FAMILIES IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA ARE FACING AND MOST SPECIFICALLY MARICOPA COUNTY. WE ARE COMPLETELY SUPPORTED BY OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY, GRANTS, INDIVIDUAL DONORS, FAMILY FOUNDATIONS, THAT TYPE OF THING.

Jose: YOU DON'T ASK QUESTIONS AND THAT INCLUDES NOT ASKING ABOUT IMMIGRATION STATUS?

CATHERINE AMIOT: THAT IS CORRECT.

Jose: AND YOU HAVE A FAIRLY SUBSTANTIAL HISPANIC POPULATION?

CLAUDIA FRANCO HIJUELOS: 80% OF OUR PARTICIPANTS ARE SPANISH AND WE ARE FULLY BILINGUAL. THAT IS A PATIENT POPULATION WE RECRUIT, INVITE AND WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE AWARE THESE SERVICES ARE THERE FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT BEING TURNED AWAY OR ASKED ANY EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS.

Jose: WE PUT THE WEBSITE ON THE SCREEN A LITTLE BIT AGO. IF PEOPLE GO THERE, ARE THERE SPANISH LANGUAGE MESSAGES THERE?

CATHERINE AMIOT: YES, THERE IS. WE POSTED A CLINIC FLIER WITH ALL OF OUR LOCATIONS, APPOINTMENT LINE NUMBERS, AND A LITTLE DESCRIPTION OF THE SERVICES THAT THE CLINICS DO WHICH IS ONLINE UNDER THE ARIZONA PROGRAMS. CLICK ON ARIZONA AND THAT WOULD TAKE THEM TO THOSE PAGES.

Jose: AS YOU KNOW, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION SINCE THE ELECTION OR EVEN BEFORE ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND PEOPLE BEING AFRAID. HAS THAT HAD AN IMPACT ON THE NUMBER OF PATIENTS BEING SEEN?

CATHERINE AMIOT: IT IS HARD TO SAY BUT WE HAVE SEEN A LITTLE DIP IN PATIENTS BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WITH MY MISSION OF MERSEY WE HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS. WE ARE ATTRIBUTING THIS TO REOCCURANCE OF FEAR AND CONCERN ON THE PART OF OUR PATIENTS. IT IS AN UNCERTAIN ENVIRONMENT. WE WANT TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY AND ALL OPPORTUNITIES TO ENCOURAGE PATIENTS TO PLEASE COME. DON'T NEGLECT YOUR HEALTH. REACH OUT TO US. IT IS SAFE, COMPASSIONATE PLACE. YOUR DIGNITY WILL BE RESTORED, YOUR IDENTITY IS PROTECTED AND IT IS OUR PRIVILEGE TO SERVE YOU.

Jose: HOW DO YOU GET THE WORD OUT TO PEOPLE TO NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS?

CATHERINE AMIOT: I THINK THROUGH PROGRAMS LIKE THIS. WE HAVE A VERY LONG STANDING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOSPITALS IN THE AREA AND OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, FAITH PARTNERS, AND WE WANT TO REITERATE AND CONTINUE TO REITERATE TO THEM THE MESSAGE OF OPENNESS AND SAFETY FOR ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE OR THEIR LANGUAGE, FOR ALL PEOPLE. WE SERVE A NUMBER OF REFUGES THAT ARE BEING RESETTLED IN THIS COUNTRY AND THEIR PAPERWORK HAS NOT CAUGHT UP WITH THEM YET. IT IS NOT JUST OUR HISPANIC POPULATION BUT PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE WHO HAVE A CURRENT NEED FOR HEALTH CARE.

Jose: WE ARE ALMOST OUT OF TIME BUT I WANT TO MENTION AND GET YOUR COMMENTS ON YOU PROVIDE PRIMARY CARE BUT IF PEOPLE NEED REFERRALS THEY CAN GET THEM THROUGH YOUR ORGANIZATION?

CATHERINE AMIOT: YES. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF COMMUNITY PARTNERS WE HAVE WORKED WITH FOR MANY YEARS. IF A PATIENT PRESENTS WITH SOMETHING THAT IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN A NORMAL PRIMARY CARE ISSUE, WE HAVE A NETWORK OF PROVIDERS THAT -- AND WE WILL WALK THEM THROUGH THAT PROCESS. WE DON'T JUST HAND THEM A SHEET OF PAPER. WE WILL HELP THEM MAKE SURE THEY ARE CONNECTED TO THE PROPER SPECIALITY CARE SERVICES.

Jose: FULL SERVICE IN MANY WAYS?

CATHERINE AMIOT : FULL SERVICE.

Jose: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE". THAT'S OUR SHOW FOR THIS EVENING. THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. FROM ALL OF US HERE AT HORIZONTE AND YOUR ARIZONA P-B-S STATION. I'M JOSE CARDENAS, HAVE A GOOD NIGHT. CLOSED CAPTION PRODUCTIONS WWW.CCPRODUCTIONS.COM 844-335-0911

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