How Does Mercy "Work" Exactly?

October 26, 2017

We here at Mercy are often asked how we are funded, and "how do I know my money is being used to truly help patients?"


As a faith-based, nonprofit, The Mercy Ministries completely operates on donations from the community (individuals, churches, civic groups/clubs and businesses) and private grant funds. It takes about $500,000 to run our entire organization for a year, but that includes the medical clinic, dental clinic and Mercy University programs offered to our 500 active, uninsured patients. [The medical and dental clinics are only available to those patients who qualify financially for our services, but the University classes are offered to the community, as well, at a low cost of about $20 per semester].


When a donation is made to the mercy medical clinic, it goes in the general operating fund, because most of that $500k budget is the cost for staff to run our programs and supplies for medical and dental. We spend a very low percentage on fundraising and administration. 


About 70% of that budget is funded through donations and 30% from grants (United Way, Georgia Baptist Healthcare, Sweet Onion Classic, etc.), so we are very dependent on the generosity of our community to help us keep our doors open. 


The health department receives funds from the state every year to provide mammogram screenings to women who are over 50, and have an up-to-date physical and breast exam, or for women that have gotten an order from a primary care physician to have a mammogram due to a breast health issue. Once this funding is depleted for their fiscal year, there are no more resources. 


Most uninsured patients do not have a primary care physician to perform a physical, breast exam and order a mammogram. This is where mercy comes in. We are a primary care clinic/medical home for our patients who are uninsured and live 200% FDL or below. When someone becomes our patient, they gain access to a provider for exams, to our medication assistance program for free or low-cost medicines, and to specialty care through our partnership with the Meadows Health System. We are able to refer our uninsured patients to the Vidalia Women's Center for an initial visit of only $25. Then, when a mammogram screening is needed, the hospital uses the fund provided by the "It's The Journey" grant to pay for the patients mammogram. In addition, if a diagnostic mammogram is needed, the health system has other grant funds that can help pay for that for uninsured mercy patients.


Also, if something is discovered during the patients' tests, mercy works with the health system's indigent care program to get biopsies and other services covered. We also help patients apply for cancer state aid (a temporary type of Medicaid insurance) to receive treatment for cancer if the Cancer Center has no indigent care funds available, which is usually the case. 


I know this is a lot of information, but I can promise that any donations given to our organization are being put to good use and being stretched to maximum capacity to help those in need get medical care and get back on their feet. Without a primary care physician, a lot of resources are simply not available to uninsured folks, so Mercy acts as a gateway or avenue for people to be able to get basic health care and access to specialized care when needed through these other resources. 



Thank you for your support!  If you'd like to attend our Annual Fundraising Love-In-Action Luncheon on November 30th @ 12:00 - 1:00 pm at the Vidalia Community Center, please contact Casey Hutcheson, Mercy's Director of Development, to reserve your spot today!  It is an inpirational hour of patient testimonies and more.  Hope to see you there!  

912-524-4000 Mon. - Thurs. or

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