Indiana’s first food bank-based health clinic is now open in Indianapolis. The clinic is operated through a partnership between Gleaners Food Bank and the St. Vincent hospital system.
The new clinic location is right next door to the pantry inside Gleaners in Indianapolis. If a client comes in to get food and also has a health issue, they can see a provider right there.
Gleaners CEO John Elliot says the needs are interconnected.
“We’ve long known that hunger and health are both urgent issues,” Elliot says.
The St. Vincent health clinic has two exams rooms, a lab and is staffed with a nurse practitioner and medical assistants. They are ready to address problems like colds, cuts, the flu, ear or eye infections and simple fractures.
The clinic will also have health access workers to navigate insurance and other resources. St. Vincent’s Georgiana Reynal says clients will be seen regardless of insurance.
“We do expect that there will be many people who are on Medicaid or the Healthy Indiana Plan, those who don’t likely qualify for charity care,” Reynall says.
She says the clinic provides better access.
“So we are bringing the healthcare to this population who may be struggling with transportation and other issues as well,” Reynall says.
The two organizations say the clinic can serve as a model for others around the state.
“Our hope is this will work from a client service perspective and be worth replicating or copying in the Gleaners 21 service area if not beyond that,” Elliot says.
Around one million Hoosiers are food insecure and many have to choose between food and healthcare.