The need to expand access to quality healthcare is no new phenomenon. Indeed, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas have dedicated themselves to this mission, and over the past few decades, they have succeeded in streamlining and increasing access to exceptional care.
Though the organization was formally founded in 1995, their roots with the South Texas medical community run deep and over half a century long. In 1955, the Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church chartered a hospital in northwest San Antonio.
Opening their doors for patients in 1963, Methodist Hospital, at the time, was the sole healthcare facility in today’s South Texas Medical Center. Naturally, times and the landscape of the healthcare field began to shift nationally, and insurance companies desired hospitals to have numerous locations to serve the communities.
Seeing this shift, John Hornbeak, the former-president and CEO of Methodist Hospital, rose to the occasion and assembled the Methodist Hospital Board of Trustees to explore a novel partnership with the current Hospital Corporation of America. Through their daring innovation, former-president and CEO John Hornbeak and the Methodist Trustees transfigured the Methodist Hospital Board of Trustees into today’s Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) and the Methodist Healthcare System.
Methodist Healthcare Ministries—a private, faith-based, nonprofit—and the Methodist Healthcare System operates nine San Antonio hospitals, three surgery centers and an astounding 27 facilities.
“We [Methodist Healthcare Ministries] have created access to quality care for uninsured and low-income individuals and families through the provision of direct primary care services in clinics we own and operate in San Antonio, as well as the health education, behavioral health and family wellness programs we offer throughout 74 counties in South Texas” -Jessica Muñoz, MHM Director of Communications
Although Methodist Healthcare Ministries operates independently from the Methodist Healthcare System, they share the same mission of “Serving Humanity to Honor God,” and Methodist Healthcare Ministries holds the responsibility for providing the local governance to ensure that the Methodist Healthcare System continues its rich tradition of being a benefit to the community with its quality care for all and charitable care, when needed.
With the mission to improve the quality of care and access to care for underserved communities, Methodist Healthcare Ministries has paved the way to actualize these goals and ultimately better the South Texas community.
“We [Methodist Healthcare Ministries] have created access to quality care for uninsured and low-income individuals and families through the provision of direct primary care services in clinics we own and operate in San Antonio, as well as the health education, behavioral health and family wellness programs we offer throughout 74 counties in South Texas,” shared Jessica Muñoz, MHM Director of Communications.
The motivating factor for increasing the quality of care and access to care for underserved communities stems from MHM’s original founding board members. Their mission of serving humanity to honor god spurred the board of directors to carry out a tasks they knew no other entity could do at the time—to serve the uninsured people of South Texas. Since its inception, Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ ability to serve an outstanding number of patients through their programs has been as extraordinary as their enormous growth and success, something the founding members likely could have never foreseen. Jessica Muñoz adds that, “They would all agree that God has been gracious to allow us to fulfill this mission.”
Methodist Healthcare Ministries astounding growth and success is a testament to working with faith and being flexible in an ever-changing landscape. Since 1995, MHM has expanded its reach across the 74 counties it serves with gusto. In 2016, the faith-based organization invested $91 million to support charitable healthcare clinics its owns and operates, including $25 million in grants to over 90 nonprofits across South Texas. With spirituality at its core, the need to improve the physical, spiritual and mental health of the least served South Texans speaks to the very heart of the organization.
“We at Methodist Healthcare Ministries believe all of God’s children are deserving of healing; access to quality care should be available to all, regardless of ability to pay,” shared Jessica Muñoz.
Acknowledging this, one of the organization’s core objectives is to influence healthcare policy through advocacy conducted through public policy analysis, research, and building the capacity of other organizations to act as healthcare advocates. As a nonprofit, non-partisan organization, educating policy makers, elected officials and civic leaders about the impact of health policies is a critical component to Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ work.
“We at Methodist Healthcare Ministries believe all of God’s children are deserving of healing; access to quality care should be available to all, regardless of ability to pay” -Jessica Muñoz, MHM Director of Communications
In the way of keeping up with the ever-changing healthcare landscape and legislature, Methodist Healthcare Ministries is in a prime position due to their founding as a response to the changing healthcare landscape. MHM’s board members recognized early on that change and healthcare would become synonymous, and in response to this, they created durable core objectives that have allowed the organization as a whole to remain nimble and responsive to changes that impact its many communities.
Looking forward, Methodist Healthcare Ministries is actively leading the way in an unprecedented effort to make regional improvements in the identification and treatment of co-occurring behavioral health problems and chronic disease in South Texas. Coupled with this, MHM is testing methods to better treat chronic illnesses, like diabetes, and associated risk factors by employing research that can potentially transform disease management. Dedicated to improving themselves, these initiatives would undergo evaluation to build a portfolio of integrated health solutions that can be scaled and replicated, allowing for a potential national impact on the delivery of care to vulnerable, underserved populations.
With more healthcare changes on the horizon, Methodist Healthcare Ministries is preparing with their signature, strategic planning processes to ensure the organization as a whole continues its tradition of being responsive to current and future developments in healthcare, whilst expanding their care and advocacy efforts.
Indeed, in 2016 the organization was able to support approximately 850,000 patient visits through clinics owned and operated by Methodist Healthcare Ministries, federally qualified health centers, safety-net clinics, counseling services and regional community projects it has funded. Alongside this, MHM has provided more than $25 million in funding to agencies throughout South Texas that support access to care, integrated delivery systems, patient-centered models and the social determinants of health.
Given their rich, faith-based foundation and dedication to providing care to the most vulnerable and underserved communities, Methodist Healthcare Ministries is a beacon of hope in the world of healthcare. Leading by example, the organization has lived true to its values and will undoubtedly continue to change the face of medicine and access to care throughout South Texas. By “Serving Humanity to Honor God,” Methodist Healthcare Ministries has dedicated themselves to the highest of values and successfully met their mark in expanding access to care. The organization’s future burns brighter than the evening star, and all of South Texas will surely benefit from their continued success.