Conveniently located in a neighborhood just down the street from the beautiful Corpus Christi Bayfront, is a quaint building that houses a multi-specialty clinic in Corpus Christi. Underneath one roof is access to internal medicine, family practice, OB/GYN services, pediatric and dental clinics that are available to anyone who needs service regardless of insurance status.
Their goal is to be recognized as one of the best clinics available in Corpus Christi. “We’re the place that people trust and come to…we happily treat everybody,” Dr. Eric Baggerman, Medical Director and Pediatrician, shared with a smile. “My goal is to be the best clinic in town…the best full-service clinic for everyone. People already come here because they get great care.”
“I’ll have patients say, ‘Wow! That’s the first time I’ve ever had a doctor examine my eyes or check my feet for diabetes” -Dr. Jacqueline Phillips, Internal Medicine Physician
Dr. Baggerman exemplifies the passion and dedication that everyone at Amistad has for providing quality healthcare to a population that might otherwise go untreated.
Despite the growing need for affordable healthcare, Corpus Christi was the last major city in Texas to receive an FQHC. Through a generous partnership with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Amistad was founded as a nonprofit, faith-based organization. Additional funding for the Amistad Community Health Center is obtained from the Health Resources and Services Administration as well as the Bureau of Primary Health Care. The clinic offers not only affordable primary care and pediatric programs but also prescription assistance, diabetes education classes and a sliding-fee scale based on family size and income. Amistad accepts several private insurance plans as well as Medicaid, CHIP and Medicare. Although Amistad is not a free clinic, their sliding-fee scale makes healthcare affordable for everyone.
“FQHCs are set up to provide services to uninsured or under-serviced populations,” Amistad Chief Financial Officer and Interim CEO, Cathie Threatt explained. “It’s shocking how many people don’t have health insurance. Even in Corpus Christi, a lot of employers don’t offer insurance. FQHCs are designed to help serve that population.” Amistad Community Health Center has grown to now include family physicians, pediatricians and a dentist on staff. The ultimate goal and plan is to further expand services in order to accommodate the growing patient population and to improve access to medical services. The city development block funds of Corpus Christi have been key for renovations to make the facility accessible to disabled patients as well as expand patient care areas.
“Of the clinic’s female patients between 24- and 64-years-old, 57 percent have received cervical cancer screenings”
The number of patients the clinic serves continues to grow. According to Amistad’s figures, the clinic saw 4,218 patients in 2013. In 2015, there was an increase to 6,017 patients demonstrating Amistad’s success, dedication and continued community support. Moreover, the clinic’s team-based approach and delivery of healthcare is why it is designated as a Patient Centered Medical Home. “We have to show that they [our patients] are getting better with their healthcare,” Amistad human resources administrator Lori Smith said. This is crucial in a community, like Corpus Christi which has a high rate of hypertension and diabetes.
“My goal is to be the best clinic in town…the best full-service clinic for everyone” –Dr. Eric Baggerman, Medical Director and Pediatrician
One of the guidelines in achieving the designation of Patient Centered Medical Home is to show that Amistad is successfully treating patients with co-morbidities like coronary artery disease, asthma, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic illness. According to Amistad’s 2014 report, 50 percent of its hypertensive patients have their blood pressures at goal, and 64 percent of diabetic patients have their A1C under 7 percent. Of the clinic’s female patients between 24- and 64-years-old, 57 percent have received cervical cancer screenings. Those are figures that Amistad’s physicians are proud of.
“I’ve had a lot of patients that have either not seen a doctor in a long time or maybe haven’t seen a doctor outside of an emergency room situation, and I’ll have patients say, ‘Wow! That’s the first time I’ve ever had a doctor examine my eyes or check my feet for diabetes,’” internal medicine physician Dr. Jacqueline Phillips said. “I think a lot of the patients see that they get a level of care they weren’t necessarily expecting from a Community Health Center.”
“You go home happy because you know you’re doing the work that you’re supposed to do” -Dr. Carmen Swenson, Amistad Dental Director
“I think a lot of patients come into this clinic expecting the typical free clinic scenario, and they end up leaving shocked that they received a full exam. But, that’s the whole point of me coming here,” Dr. Jacqueline Phillips shared, explaining that, “These are patients that I think would have never had access to this kind of care.”
Amistad dentist Carmen Swenson explains that the work she and others do at the clinic is rewarding and satisfying. “You go home happy because you know you’re doing the work that you’re supposed to do,” Amistad Dental Director, Dr. Swenson shared with a smile. “Even in our mission statement where it mentions Jesus Christ, I think you have to have that good Christian soul, and be willing to serve others.”