Hospital Services Grow at the Stanton Center
Two years ago, when Anne Arundel Medical Center began planning the new hospital at Medical Park, a survey was conducted to better understand how the move would affect the community. Survey results indicated that the community wanted to ensure that Outreach services would be available to those who have difficulty obtaining medical services.
As the construction has advanced at Medical Park, so has the Outreach Center in Annapolis. In 1998, the Outreach Center was housed on Clay Street, where physicians volunteered their services on a routine basis. But the Center was very small and could not accommodate the growing needs of the uninsured and under-served community.
The hospital joined forces with the City of Annapolis and the Anne Arundel County Health Department to restructure and renovate health services at the Stanton Community Center (SCC), site of an historic schoolhouse diagonally across from the Clay Street Outreach Center on West Washington Street. Last summer the hospital officially moved the Outreach Center into the Stanton Community Center, where a thriving collaboration of services provides much needed help for the community. Wellness classes have expanded, and physicians have more examining rooms and equipment for seeing patients.
“As a result of the relocation, last year’s clinic visits to volunteer physicians exceeded 1,000,” said Kris Powell, AAMC’s director of Community Health and Wellness. In a recent survey, a sampling of Outreach Center patients was asked what they would have done if they had not come to the Outreach Center’s clinic. Powell said that 25 percent of them said they would have gone to the hospital’s Emergency Department, and 15 percent said they would have waited until they were sicker, then they would have gone to the Emergency Department. Outreach physicians referred six percent of patients to the Emergency Department for additional care.
The Wellness Program works out of a suite of rooms where physicians see patients, and the Wellness staff holds weekly classes in Nutrition, Childbirth, Exercise and Yoga. Staff members also do free screenings on a regular basis. Many people in the area come in for regular screenings. Tommie Green, a regular at the SCC, is retired from the Navy. He likes to come to the Outreach Center to get his blood pressure checked and chat with friends. He said his retirement insurance doesn’t cover many of his medical expenses and the free services available through the hospital’s Outreach Center have helped him take better care of himself.
With the increased space, new groups are beginning to form. A group of women formed “Sister-to-Sister,” which meets weekly for lunch, craft sharing, and support for stresses in their daily lives. Faye Hunt-Anderson, RN, who oversees the Wellness Program at the Outreach Center, said the hospital has quickly integrated into life at the SCC, overlapping with other programs that already were well established. Not only are patients referred to Hunt-Anderson from other programs based at the SCC, she also refers patients to those programs. One is WeCare, founded by Larry Griffin, which is a non-profit organization that helps the homeless and those in need of emergency services.
On any given day the sound of basketballs bouncing from the gym echoes through the halls, where Anne Arundel County Department of Parks and Recreation keeps an office. Annapolis Police Officer George Kelley may drop by to shoot a few hoops with the young men there. He said the SCC has provided a place for youth at risk to find something positive to do. In addition to his job as police officer, Kelley is a minister and often uses the hoop as his pulpit to help misguided teenagers. He has referred several people he’s counseled to the Outreach Center, sometimes for first aid, sometimes for health counseling provided by Hunt-Anderson.
With the need for medical services continuing to increase, volunteer physicians also have opened a monthly evening clinic to accommodate work schedules. Three specialists offer monthly clinics in dermatology, women’s health and diabetes. The Outreach Center is open 8:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays. Pre-registration is required for clinic services. Wellness services are offered on a walk-in basis. For information, call 443-481-3599.