Maple City Health Care Center (MCHCC) opened our doors in 1989. James Nelson Gingerich, a young physician, and dozens of neighbors formed a board of directors and renovated an unused fire station that the City of Goshen donated. In February 1989, our health center began serving residents of north and east Goshen with affordable high quality health care.
Two years later, we were serving 1,800 patients each year and no longer had the capacity to add new patients. We created the Mom-to-Mom program. Dr. Rose Gillin joined us to help provide care for the growing number of Spanish-speaking residents who we welcomed into the neighborhood.
In 1994, our fifth year, we started a diabetes management class in Spanish and began a campaign to test neighborhood children for lead poisoning. In 1995, we added a new wing to two sides of the old fire station using mostly volunteers. In 1997, Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon approved our neighborhood as a Medically Underserved Population. The designation opened the door to state and (later) federal funding. In our tenth year, we employed 15 people and served 2,700 people per year. We started our Centering Pregnancy program.
In 2008, our twentieth year, Maple City Health Care Center won the National Dorothy Richardson NeighborWorks Award for community development. We employed 20 people including a social worker and a behavioral health provider. We added a second floor to the fire station. We launched the More Than Money program to trade health care for the hours that patients volunteered in the community. The program received coverage from national media including NPR and MSNBC.
Our health center won federal funding in 2012. In addition to a large yearly grant, status as a federally qualified health center gave us access to the 340B drug discount program and to federal malpractice insurance. We hired a dietician and added nurse practitioners. Federal funding enabled us to add dental care through a collaboration with a private dental practice and enabled us to add mental health services through Elkhart County Clubhouse. We received the National Summit Award from Managed Health Services for innovation in healthcare. The Robert Wood Johnson LEAP project recognized our center as one of 31 exemplary practices from across the nation.
In 2015, MCHCC added a second site, Vista Community Health Center, located in an historic mansion. We added two physicians and nearly doubled the number of people on our staff. Within a year of opening, Vista operated at capacity, which doubled the number of patients we served annually to more than 6,000.
By the end of 2015, we had adopted a new model of care – co-located patient care teams. In 2016, we added a psychiatrist and an addictions counselor to begin a new treatment program for substance use disorder. In 2018, we employed 85 people. We added solar panels to our two sites.
In 2020, we made even bigger changes. At the beginning of 2020, we switched to a new electronic patient record system just as the Covid pandemic forced us to limit in-person visits. By the end of April 2020, our clinical providers were using telehealth to care for as many patients as possible and our non-clinical employees were working from home. In May 2020, we opened a Covid testing site. In October, we won the CDC’s Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge.
In January of 2021, we finished converting a large house into a dental clinic and hired our own dental staff. We started vaccinating people in our community against Covid-19. In April 2021, with about 90% of our 120 staff members vaccinated, we began bringing our employees back to work on-site.
Throughout our history, we’ve felt blessed and supported by our community. This support has shown us how operating out of a sense of abundance frees us to imagine and to risk the innovation that has permeated our journey so far.