ELKHART — Nonprofit community health center Heart City officially opened its second clinic, SCENIC Health, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday.
"It’s definitely been butterflies in our stomachs up to this morning,“ staff member Menessah Nelson said.
Heart City provides affordable health care primarily to uninsured and low-income patients. SCENIC Health is expected to expand Heart City’s capacity by 3,500 new patients.
The new clinic is in the Woodland Crossing shopping complex on the corner of Prairie and Hively Streets in Elkhart. It is an enrollment site for Affordable Care Act Marketplace Insurance, Medicaid and HIP 2.0. The clinic will accept all Marketplace insurance carriers except MDwise.
Mayor Dick Moore gave a short speech at the ceremony to thank the Heart City staff and board for what he called a ”very-needed program.“
"This is truly the village with a heart,” Moore said, addressing the staff and board. “You do a great job for the City of Elkhart and representing the city of Elkhart, I say thank you.”
The ceremony also included a letter from U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, read by her representative Ben Parsons, and a video message from U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.
"Heart City is doing a tremendous job of giving medical service to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it,“ Donnelly said.
Board treasurer Rod Roberson gave a short address to pay tribute to late community leader Max Abernathy, who Roberson said worked hard to make Heart City a reality.
"We wanted to give respect to Max, to his dream,” Roberson said.
Roberson also congratulated the board and staff on recognizing the importance of providing affordable health care to the community.
CEO Vernita Todd wrapped up the address portion of the ceremony, thanking the board and staff members for their work.
"We don’t take this as an individual accomplishment,“ she said.
Todd said she’d like to see Heart City’s coverage expand even more.
"It’s space we know will remove barriers for people who want to take care of their health,” she said. “I have a vision. We’re still growing.”
The facility was funded by a $900,000 federal grant, part of an ACA funding package. Five other Indiana health centers also received expansion funding as part of the package.
SCENIC Health will open for treatment June 3.
"We’re glad to come back to our old neighborhood and be the home medical center,” Nelson said.