Toledo’s Neighborhood Health Association (NHA), a community health organization, operates 11 Toledo area clinics to serve young and old, homeless, those with mental health challenges and other disadvantaged citizens. NHA’s mission, “to put health within reach of all community members, regardless of the ability to pay, through equal access to quality medical care and educational and support services essential for well-being of body and mind,” supports a sliding-fee scale, or free healthcare to people lacking health insurance.
“We see absolutely anybody,” says Doni Miller, CEO of NHA, a federally- and state-funded center which started 47 years ago. “People who come into [NHA] are facing significant (health) complications…so we work really hard to make sure that they stay engaged in care.”
Nexus Health Care
In October 2016, NHA’s $12 million Nexus Health Care facility, opened at 1415 Jefferson Avenue with a separate entrance to the Mildred Bayer Clinic for the Homeless. A $5 million grant from the federal government and $6 million from the Healthy Futures Fund, in the form of tax credits, paid for the project. The Healthy Futures Fund is a $200 million fund created by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the Kresge Foundation, and Morgan Stanley.
The Nexus Health Care center features welcoming and modern patient rooms, Nourish Café in the lobby with free wi-fi, a branch of the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, a meditation room, and a pharmacy. Nexus professionals offer adult primary care, dental care, immunizations, laboratory services, pediatric care, and female health care.
“Our people determine what you are able to pay, but if you do not have those resources we see you anyway,” says Miller. “Homeless people get their prescriptions for free. We are in a program that allows obtain medications at substantially reduced costs. We work really hard to make sure people get their needed medication.”
NHA expects Nexus, once fully staffed in the next year, to provide care for 17,000 patient visits in addition to 3,500 patient visits to Mildred Bayer, and 750 dental visits annually.
A Community Effort
“United Way of Greater Toledo has been a supporter and strong community partner with NHA for many years,” says the United Way’s Evelyn McKinney, “Healthcare in low-to-moderate income communities is paramount and NHA helps to provide a solution.”
“Access to affordable healthcare is critical for those who are low-income, underinsured, or uninsured,” says Heather Hall, director of the Medical Legal Partnership for Children with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. “Without NHA, many Toledo families would lack primary care physicians and be unable to access healthcare. Being centrally located allows families with limited access to transportation to receive care and develop relationships with NHA staff.”
Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken was instrumental in arranging the land for the facility to be donated to the Lucas County Land Bank, which then provided the land to NHA. “NHA consistently delivers healthcare to people in the shadows, who are on the margins of health care,” said Commissioner Gerken. “It’s like they say in Mastercard’s commercials: NHA’s priceless. We would certainly be a vastly unhealthier community without it.”
“The Nexus Health Care center is a great resource for Toledo,” says Jan Ruma, executive director of Toledo-Lucas County CareNET, a local organization that provides sliding-scale health insurance, and assists people with enrolling in Medicaid, or buying health insurance in the Obamacare marketplace.
Doni Miller expects NHA to engage in some non-traditional advertising of the Nexus facility, including networking with community organizations, once it is fully staffed. “We should make going to the doctor as simple as going to the grocery store,” she says, pointing out that the Nourish Café at Nexus brings a pleasant and social atmosphere to the center. “The café will be open to anyone, the wi-fi is free, and we’re inviting the community to use our conference rooms, for community meetings, at no cost. We run clinics for people to see the doctor, but also so people see they have some control over their lives.”
Mildred Bayer Clinic
for the Homeless
NHA’s Mildred Bayer Homeless Clinic has been providing medical and dental care to homeless Toledoans since 1984 when Mildred Bayer and Dr. Raymond Borer opened the free clinic at a homeless shelter. In 2000, Mildred Bayer merged with NHA, and in 2016 moved to the new Nexus Health Care facility.
“We see homeless patients and provide primary care, from a case of hiccups to a stroke,” says Tamara Bumpus, nurse practitioner at Mildred Bayer. Homeless patients also have access to free prescription medications through the Nexus pharmacy.
Bumpus describes her homeless patientsToledoans. “Some new, some repeats, people from Cherry Street Mission, St. Paul’s Shelter, people living with other people, people coming out of prison, and work release,” she said.
Also at Mildred Bayer, homeless Toledoans can take advantage of private restrooms and showers, and receive a change of clothes.
“We continue to refer our residents to Mildred Bayer,” says Joe Habib, executive director of St Paul’s Community Center, a homeless shelter and kitchen on 13th street. St Paul’s provides lunch daily for around 120 people. The new Mildred Bayer “is a bigger and better facility, and the staff is friendly, they are a great resource for our folks he said.”
“Mildred Bayer has a great history,” says the Rev. Daniel Rogers, CEO of Cherry Street Mission, which provides 310 beds for homeless Toledoans, and serves about 1,000 meals per day. “NHA and Doni Miller, they wisely chose to move to the new clinic. It allows our guests to have more access, more hours. There’s not a day that goes by that we’re not referring patients to them, it could be around 15 to 30 people per month,” Rogers said.
The Mildred Bayer clinic is open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 8am-noon,
and on Wednesday 1-4pm. www.nhainc.org/bayer-homeless-clinic, 419-241-1554
Nexus Health Care – www.nhainc.org | 419-214-5700