In 2004, not satisfied with waiting for policy reform to address disparities in the access and delivery of primary healthcare in the Greater Hartford region, a group of concerned community leaders established, and continue to operate the Malta House of Care free Mobile Medical clinic. The Malta House of Care, Inc. (MHC) and the Malta House of Care Foundation, Inc. (MHCF) are 501c(3) non-profit organizations with the MHC providing medical services and the MHCF providing funding to support clinic services. Our organization began with an enthusiastic board of founders and a small cadre of volunteers but has grown, evolving into a grass-roots community resource. The Malta House of Care Mobile Medical Clinic (MHC) opened its doors in 2006 and has thus far provided over 40,000 free patient visits through a volunteer staff of over 40 physicians, nurses and non-medical volunteers.
Community Needs Being Met
We seek to narrow the gap in health disparities and achieve equity in access to health care. Those without access to health care either receive episodic and fragmented medical attention or nothing, dying prematurely or suffering significant disability. Either of these scenarios is costly in economic and more importantly human terms. We recognize this need and have responded with a seven year track record of improving health outcomes through a strong primary care focus. Malta House of Care functions as an effective and unique community asset in Hartford, which is ranked as the second poorest city in the United States. From reports by the U.S. Census Bureau (2006 estimates), Connecticut Department of Public Health, National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control, and the City of Hartford Health Survey the nearly 125,000 estimated population of Hartford can be described as follows:
- 15% uninsured
- 28% of Hartford Families live below the poverty level
- Median household income of $28,572 is less than half of the Hartford County and statewide median income
- Hartford’s unemployment rate of 13.6% is almost double that of the state
- 30% suffer from chronic disease
- 31% suffer from hypertension
- 17% have asthma
- 13% have diabetes
- 8.5 % use the emergency room or community clinics for primary health care
- Infant mortality is 9.4 per 1,000, nearly double the state and national rate
Safety Net for Safety Nets
By becoming the safety net for those who would otherwise not have access to the health care system—providing free clinic visits as well as free lab work, radiological imaging and ongoing necessary medications—we are reducing racial and ethnic health disparities and providing more equitable access to integrated primary care. Our patients have been diagnosed with a number of chronic conditions and are being provided with ongoing treatment plans. They are now on a road to better health and their success has a positive effect on their families and their communities as a whole. Improving access to health care among underserved and poor populations is one of the most significant needs in the United States. In Central Connecticut, there are few options for the uninsured to access primary health care other than the hospital emergency rooms. These hospitals invest in costly fixed medical assets to provide care for the critical and chronic medical conditions, not primary care. As a result, the cost of giving primary care is extremely high when an uninsured individual goes to a hospital.
A Patient Centered Medical Home
Since 2006, we have moved from an initial model of providing episodic urgent care to establishing and maintaining a Patient Centered Medical Home, with returning patients accounting for 80% of all patients. We initiated and implemented an Electronic Medical Record system that now assists in delivering and assessing medication treatment plans. We have developed and are implementing mechanisms for patients to apply for free pharmaceutical assistance programs and have strengthened our community pharmacy relationships. We are recruiting and training our volunteer staff to deliver high-quality evidence-based care for the most common chronic medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, asthma and hyperlipidemia). Our staff and volunteers are becoming certified medical interpreters to enhance the experience of non-English language speakers at our clinics. We are also expanding our relationships with key educational institutions in the region serving as a training ground for the next generation of primary care physicians as well as partnering with other community based entities to integrate our activities, thereby enhancing our impact.
Funding: Malta House of Care Foundation
The Malta House of Care Foundation acknowledges the donors who have made our medical van possible
- William and Alice Mortensen Foundation Hartford Foundation for Public Giving An Individual Donor Order of Malta—Federal Association, USA TD Bank Northeast Utilities Farmington Bank
- We thank the following for Major Sustaining Support of Operations since 2006:
- Donors to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal
- Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center
- Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Inc.
- An Individual Donor
- Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, Inc.
- Updike, Kelly, Spellacy, P.C.
- Murphy Security
- Data-Mail, Inc.
- Aetna Foundation
- Bank of America
- Newman’s Own Foundation
The Malta House of Care Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 organization which solicits and raises funds for the operation of the mobile clinic. Funding of this effort has been broadly based, including individual, corporate and foundation contributions as well as generous in-kind gifts and administrative support. Major support has been received from the Aetna Foundation, an Anonymous Donor, Archdiocese of Hartford, Ashoka/Green Mountain, Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Bank of America Foundation, Beatrice Fox Auerbach Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Blum Shapiro Foundation, Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation, Carla’s Pasta, Charles Nelson Robinson Fund, CIGNA Foundation, Comcast, ConnectiCare, Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority, Connecticut Light & Power, CT Health Foundation, CVS CareMark, Data Mail, Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Farmington Bank, Fisher Foundation, Fund for Greater Harford, The Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hoffman Family Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, Inc., George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, L’oreal/Points of Light Foundation, John G. Martin Foundation, MAXIMUS Charitable Foundation, William and Alice Mortensen Foundation, Murphy Security, NewAlliance Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Northeast Utilities, Order of Malta Federal Association, USA, Lucien B. and Katherine B. Price Foundation, Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, R.C. Knox and Company, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, SBM Charitable Foundation, SQ Foundation, Swindells Charitable Foundation, TD Bank, Universal Healthcare Foundation, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C., Walmart Foundation, William and Alice Mortensen Foundation, and Xerox Foundation. Additional funds are received from other foundations, businesses and many generous individuals.