When a family member got pregnant and didn’t have health insurance, a sister, cousin or aunt would recommend “the clinic.”
Now, after failing to secure grant funding from the Indiana State Department of Health for the first time since 1979, the Maternal Child Health Clinic in Gary, Indiana, will close at the end of the year. Following more than four decades of service, the staff of five — director, program director, registered nurse, medical assistant and social worker – will be let go. Uninsured, underinsured women and children in Gary will be forced to look elsewhere for healthcare services.
Shirley Borom, the clinic’s director, said since August when the state grant fell through, the nonprofit clinic tried unsuccessfully to secure other forms of funding.
The nonprofit clinic provided physicals for children including immunizations and screenings for hearing, vision and anemia, as well as OB-GYN services. The social worker helped enroll residents in insurance and get patients to appointments.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch, said it’s not unusual for grant providers to change their priorities, as well as their recipients, if they’ve been the same for years. Most importantly when you rely on grant funds for your operation, you must diversify. Organizations should never be complacent in their funding and programming – they should continuously seek out new funding sources to support existing and new much needed programs.
Mental Health America of Lake County, the applicant that will receive the Early Start grant that was lost to Maternal Child Health, offers a broader scope of services including child injury prevention, smoking cessation, home visiting and safe sleep education.
Since 1976, the Gary clinic had received state grants to provide healthcare access to low-income children at its Children and Youth Clinic. Services expanded in 1991 to address infant mortality rates when the clinic adopted its current name.
According to the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Healthcare, about 60 percent of community hospitals are nonprofit, all community health centers are nonprofit, almost 30 percent of nursing homes are nonprofit, and about 17 percent of home health care agencies are estimated to be nonprofit.
Hikind said nonprofits play an important role in the delivery of healthcare services in the United States. She encourages those organizations and corporations that rely on grants and are looking for new funding sources to visit GrantWatch.com, where they will find grants for programs that foster innovation and improvements including children’s health and development, school readiness, and support for families.