How Shepherd's Hope is Helping Thousands of Medically Underserved Central Florida Families
By Sarah Ford on February 7, 2014
Joey is your typical little boy— energetic, challenging and inquisitive.
But now he’s afraid and worried. His mom has been coughing for a long time and he wonders why she won’t come out and throw the baseball with him like she used to.
Sofia is a single mom and Joey is her pride and joy. “I just want him to have the best,” she says. To do that, she works two part-time jobs in the hospitality industry and adds on shifts when she can.
“I was feeling very run down and it just kept getting worse. Sometimes I felt that Joey was mothering me and not the other way around,” she adds sadly, with tears in her eyes.
After months of looking for help and just about giving up, Sofia heard about Shepherd’s Hope from a colleague at work. “I didn’t really believe it. There had to be a catch, I thought. But my co-worker insisted, so I decided to check it out.
“Joey and I waited in line. I must admit I did want to give up and go home, but he kept saying, ‘Please, Momma. Let’s stay, let’s stay.’ I stayed for him.”
After the nursing assessment, Sofia saw a physician who ordered diagnostic tests that revealed a lung tumor. It had progressed because of lack of treatment, but with surgery and chemotherapy behind her, Sofia is feeling much better.
Joey doesn’t realize how serious things were. But he’s happy because his mom threw the baseball with him yesterday. “Shepherd’s Hope made my Momma all better,” he smiles.
Sofia relates, “I had no idea a place like Shepherd’s Hope existed. What a gift from God! All those wonderful volunteers waiting to help you – Shepherd’s Hope saved my life.”
How Does Shepherd’s Hope Help People?
With more than 2,000 volunteer doctors, nurses and general assistants, and partner organizations, Shepherd’s Hope provides care to uninsured and underinsured individuals and families who otherwise would be filling already crowded emergency rooms, or worse yet, going without care altogether.
As a faith-based organization, Shepherd’s Hope encompass all faiths and only requires that the patients they serve be at or below 200% of the poverty level, are uninsured and are not eligible for any government assisted healthcare programs. Their goal is to turn away as few individuals as possible and serve as many as they can that come to their doors for help.
How Can Individual Donors or Organizations Make an Impact?
The Need is Strong:
In 2013 alone, the number of patient visits and medical services provided by Shepherd’s Hope approached 20,000. Although the Affordable Care Act was hoped to reduce this number, in actuality, the need for Shepherd’s Hope services is anticipated to increase because so many will fall into the “gap,” unable to afford coverage options being offered. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates 1 in 10 will still be without health insurance; in Central Florida, that number tabulates to 448,226 residents who are medically underserved.
Resources and Talent Donated by the Community:
Shepherd’s Hope is located in a caring community where many people and organizations are partnering with them to bring medical care to those in need. Their inter-faith community is the primary resource for volunteer doctors, nurses and general office volunteers. Area hospitals generously donate laboratory and radiology services to patients referred from Shepherd’s Hope, and many public and private schools and organizations provide health care facilities free of charge.
Costs Associated With Delivering Free Care:
Shepherd’s Hope needs financial support from individuals and companies so that patients can receive the medical care they need and deserve. Although all medical care is provided completely by volunteers, there are still costs associated with delivering free care that include:
- Medical supplies,
- Pharmacy medicines,
- Volunteer training and recruitment,
- Bio-hazardous waste removal and
- Evening security services.
Value of a Dollar:
- Every $70 donation to Shepherd’s Hope provides a free medical visit for a man, woman or child, including diagnostic tests and medicines.
- $250 enables Shepherd’s Hope’s case management team to work one-on-one with patients to secure help for their pressing needs.
- $500 allows Shepherd’s Hope to coordinate medical testing through their community partners.
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