A faith-based, evangelical health service organization that’s only halfway through its first year of existence has opened a second clinic to help support its mission of addressing health care disparities in Memphis.
Resurrection Health, which launched in December, has expanded to Whitehaven with the opening of a 3,600-square-foot health center at 5339 Elvis Presley Blvd.
The organization targeted Whitehaven for its new clinic partly on the basis of demographics, with Resurrection CEO Dr. Rick Donlon pointing to a broad lack of access to quality primary care in the area for people without health insurance.
“It’s got the capacity to see 400 patients a week,” Donlon said about the clinic, which has been open for about two weeks and has a staff of 10 providing services that include prenatal care, pediatrics, women’s health, HIV/AIDS care, and adult and geriatric medicine.
Seeing 400 people a week means more than 20,000 patients a year. The fact that it can make that much of an impact in one community – Donlon said Resurrection would like to expand next to Frayser before year’s end – also underscores the straightforward motivation behind not just the clinic’s opening but Resurrection’s existence.
“We have an adequate number of physicians in Shelby County to meet the needs of the entire population,” Donlon said. “The problem is because of the economics they’ve congregated in areas where people most have the capacity to pay for it.
“We’ve always been about finding the places where people don’t have adequate access to health care in their community, locating there and taking all comers.”
Resurrection Health is kicking off its move to Whitehaven with a back-to-school celebration the week of July 20. Providers and team members will be handing out free school supplies during the week and conducting health screenings for students.
On July 23, Resurrection also is hosting an outdoor celebration at the Whitehaven center that includes food, bounce houses, face painting, drawings for Wal-Mart gift cards or school uniform vouchers and more.
Donlon points out that he and his colleagues don’t see Resurrection as operating in competition with organizations like the Church Health Center that have similar missions. Resurrection’s growth, he says, “isn’t at the expense of anybody else.”
Besides, the need is bigger than any one player can meet. Resurrection says more than 200,000 low-income residents of west and southeast Shelby County struggle to find primary care in their communities.
Whitehaven and areas of southwest Shelby County also have been identified as federal health professional shortage areas for primary care in the Tennessee Department of Health’s Update on the Healthcare Safety Net report in 2014.
Resurrection opened its first permanent health center earlier this year at 4095 American Way. Donlon and other Resurrection Health physicians also staff the emergency room at Delta Medical Center. Donlon and Dr. David Pepperman launched Resurrection after co-founding Christ Community Health Services in 1995.
Under Donlon and his team’s administration for the past two decades, Christ Community Health Services grew to include seven health centers, three dental clinics and a family medicine residency program.
Pepperman, meanwhile, serves as the chief medical officer and laboratory director at Resurrection.