The groundbreaking of Truman Medical Center’s clinic at the Greater Kansas City YMCA’s Linwood Boulevard location has been a long time coming for Mary Roseburr.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood my whole life, around here for 60 years,” Roseburr, 80, said Monday after the shovels hit the dirt. “Raised a family here. I know that people around here, including myself, have had to drive a bit to get to doctors’ appointments. For some, that’s enough to keep them at home, which creates health issues. ... Once this clinic is built, they will have a doctor right here on staff to help.”
The 7,000-square foot primary care facility that Truman plans to open later this year will be attached to the newly renovated YMCA at Linwood Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue.
Doctors will be able to refer patients to YMCA wellness programs, and YMCA personal trainers and dieticians will be able to work with doctors to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s part of the Kansas City YMCA’s ongoing movement to meld itself with the medical community, which includes hiring the first staff physician at any YMCA nationwide.
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Kansas City YMCA officials have said they’re also in talks with an unnamed medical partner to include a primary care clinic in the planned renovation of a YMCA in Wyandotte County.
“I’m sure as we dig the dirt today, this will be one of many that we will go forward with because health care and healthy living is definitely part of the Y’s mission of keeping people well, spiritually mentally and physically,” Kansas City YMCA CEO David Byrd said.
The Linwood YMCA clinic will be the first of its kind in Kansas City and one of only a few at YMCAs nationwide.
The clinic, funded through a mix of public and private financing, is also part of Truman’s move from a traditional hospital into a comprehensive community medical provider in its role as manager of the Jackson County Health Department.
“We’ve been trying to take our clinics out into the neighborhoods,” said Truman CEO Charlie Shields. “We’ve put them in grocery stores; we’ve got two clinics in Hy-Vee stores. But this is the first time we’ve done a clinic in a YMCA. It won’t be the last time, but this is the first time.”
Jackson County executive Frank White and Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed also spoke at Monday’s groundbreaking.
Reed, who represents the area in the heart of the city where the clinic will be located, said people there don’t take for granted access to medical care.
“This is what you consider very life-changing for a lot of our residents,” Reed said.
Physicians are sparse in the area around the Linwood Boulevard YMCA. There’s a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center about a mile to the east and the Hope Family Care clinic about a mile to the west. Otherwise, most of the primary care is west of U.S. 71.
Roseburr, who raised six children in the neighborhood and frequents the YMCA, said the clinic will be a welcome addition.
“I care about my health, and I care about the health of everyone who lives around here,” Roseburr said. “Which is why this day is so important.”