Mercy Health linking the poor with healthcare

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TOLEDO (13abc, Action News) - The Franklin Avenue Medical Center in Toledo's center city is operated by Mercy Health.

Forty-two thousand people come here for medical care, each year. Many are homeless, poor or already sick.

Linda Bert, Regional Manager for Mercy Health says, "For some of them, I'm convinced if we weren't hand-holding themt hrough the system, they probably wouldn''t be alive."

Many people struggle just to put food on the table. To them, health care is a luxury they cannot afford.

So Mercy has a small food bank and a clothing rack to help people with the staples so they can focus on healthcare.

Veronica Cooper says, without this service, medical coverage would "be very rough.... Couldn't afford it."

Veronica knows where to turn. But many poor and homeless in the community don't know about the food and clothing assistance which can then help them focus on getting healthcare.

Mercy was a lifesaver for Tammy Vaughan when her husband lost his job and medical insurance. She says, "They made it convenient and on top of that, they made it affordable. they saw us when we had no insurance at all."

Dr. Jonathan Ross says, "We're provding the people the same sort of services and a very high level of them that they would get in the best doctors offices in this community."

And the need grows in our community...

So Mercy is putting trained specialists into poor neighborhoods to connect people with help they need.

Michelle Smith-Wojnowski, a community linkage specialist says, "It could just be right into their building right across to an office, talk to a community health worker about their needs and get those referrals started."

Which could be the beginning of vital healthcare.