It will continue to serve patients in other locations, including Frederick.
The nonprofit distributed a letter to its Westminster staff and patients: "Unfortunately, due to the rising costs of medical care and our inability to locally fund our Westminster clinic over the last several years, we will be sadly terminating services here on February 28, 2013," the letter stated.
It will continue to serve the patients its sees during its monthly Taneytown visits, as well as to its other locations in Frederick, Reisterstown and other areas in Maryland and Pennsylvania. However, the nonprofit will not be able to see its Westminster patients at those sites, Charlton said.
But Mission of Mercy staff had meetings with Carroll Hospital Center and Access Carroll officials to ensure the Westminster patients wouldn’t go without health care.
"A lot of them are working class, day laborers, the working poor. If they’re in pain, they can’t function," Charlton said. "It’s really important to us that those patients be provided what they need to make sure they can stay functional."
On Mission of Mercy’s final clinic day, Feb. 6, a team of Access Carroll employees will be on site to help patients schedule follow-up appointments at its new medical facility in the Distillery building.
Access Carroll employees will also be on site on Feb. 27, when Mission of Mercy officials will come back to Westminster one final time Feb. 27 for a half a day. This visit will be for administrative purposes only.
"We’re trying to work with them, and make sure patients get the smoothest and best transition of care," said Tammy Black, Access Carroll’s executive director. "Since we are here serving as a full-time medical home, we are hoping those patients can seamlessly move right into our service."
Carroll Hospital Center will continue to provide ancillary lab and X-ray support, the letter to patients and staff stated.
"The hospital is here to make sure there’s access to care for everybody in the community," said Ellen Finnerty Myers, the hospital’s vice president of community affairs.
Mission of Mercy’s exit from the Westminster community signifies that the city has established a successful network of care for uninsured, under-insured and low income residents, she said.
"It’s a win-win all around for our community in that we were blessed that the Mission of Mercy came here in 1994 and [has] provided services and that the hospital and the health department and other community agencies were able to partner and open up a full-time clinic," Myers said. "And that now [Mission of Mercy] is able to open up in other places."
And it’s time to move on, Charlton said.
"It just seemed like the right decision to redirect our talents and our resources to other communities that don’t have an Access Carroll," she said. "Mission of Mercy deeply appreciates the relationships we’ve built over the years with patients, their families, our wonderful volunteers and our collaborative partners."