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Mission of Mercy Arizona Brings Mobile Medical Care to Uninsured, High Risk

Ford Fund partner brings hope, treatment to Phoenix during crisis

PHOENIX — When Robert first visited a Mission of Mercy clinic in the Metro Phoenix area, he was a poorly controlled diabetic who was recently released from the hospital after a blood infection almost took his life. Like many uninsured Arizonans, the emergency department was the only resource he turned to for his healthcare needs.

Clinician working with Mission of Mercy client

He was no longer able to work due to nerve damage in his legs that caused severe pain, and he had high cholesterol and early kidney damage from diabetes. Robert was denied Medicaid but was referred to Mission of Mercy by a friend.

Robert's story is not unlike many Mission of Mercy patients. Caring for Arizona's uninsured and under-insured populations is a big task, but it's one that Mission of Mercy has been doing with dignity and compassion for the past 23 years.

"Our patients have very limited budgets and as a result, they put their health at the very bottom of their priority list," said Mission of Mercy Medical Director Brad Smith, NMD. "Unfortunately, many patients can't even afford the cheapest medications – let alone money for food, the electric bill or transportation."

As the coronavirus pandemic spread, Ford Fund reached out to Mission of Mercy to find out what help the nonprofit needed in order to address immediate community needs. Ford Fund redirected funds to help keep the organization's mobile medical unit rolling and provide low-income seniors and other high-risk people with medicine they need to stay healthy and out of emergency departments.

Interior of RV

"More than 80 percent of our patients have one or more chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, which puts them at high risk during this health crisis," said Mission of Mercy Executive Director Paula Carvalho. "With partners like Ford Fund and generous donations, we are doing our part to help those who really have no other healthcare safety net."

Ford Fund has supported the nonprofit's mobile medical RV unit operations for the past three years, providing annual grants for gas and maintenance.

For more information or to make a donation, visit momaz.org.

Ford Fund's support of Mission of Mercy Arizona is part of a larger effort to provide resources and help meet pressing needs in communities across the U.S. in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In total, more than $1.6 million has been allocated to address hunger, shelter and mobility needs related to COVID-19.

Visit fordfund.org/covid19 for updates on Ford Fund's response and ways that you can help.