MercyMed Clinic provides compassionate healthcare to area’s underserved
MercyMed, a nonprofit healthcare clinic in Columbus, provides affordable quality healthcare for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of the underserved and underinsured from West Georgia and East Alabama. Founded in 2012 by Dr. Grant Scarborough, MercyMed has grown to four locations with more than 50 healthcare professionals including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, and physician assistants.
The MercyMed “community” takes up most of two blocks in the North Highland neighborhood, including a sustainable urban micro-farm that supplies healthy food that assists in patients’ health and wellness by providing seasonal fruits and vegetables that are affordable and accessible.
Some patients are prescribed a fruit and vegetable prescription from the MercyMed Dietitian through the vegetables grown at the MercyMed Farm. The goal is to complement the healthcare center’s primary care work and to help better address their medical issues.
Scarborough, who is from Columbus, sees the practice as a ministry. “MercyMed of Columbus exists to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and to demonstrate His love by providing affordable, quality healthcare for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of the underserved,” he said.
After graduating with a biology degree from the University of Georgia, Scarborough spent two years on staff with Young Life in metro-Atlanta where he became involved in an outreach effort to the homeless of downtown Atlanta. He soon felt called to work with the underserved around him. Dr. Scarborough earned his medical degree from Mercer Medical School in 2003, completed residencies in Memphis and Knoxville, Tennessee, and returned to Georgia as co-founder of Christ Community Health Services of Augusta. Dr. Scarborough and his family moved back to Columbus in 2011 and began MercyMed in 2012.
“Primary care is the main entry point for most of our patients,” Scarborough said. “Muscogee County is underserved in terms of primary care providers, and we help stand in that gap with more than 8,300 patients resulting in more than 23,000 visits a year. We are a gateway to a full range of services including specialty clinics for ophthalmology, gynecology, dentistry, and speech therapy. We recruit volunteer specialists to help provide these services, and we build clinic days around the specialists’ availability. Volunteers love coming to MercyMed because everything is ready for them to work, and they can focus solely on providing healthcare to patients,” he said.
“MercyMed offers specialty clinics in-house, removing the barriers of cost and trust. Patients can see the same faces they see for primary care and receive quality care from volunteer specialists,” said MercyMed Development Director Billy Holbrook. “We definitely believe consistency is important in the medical world. It just makes sense that your care is better, your outcomes are better if the same provider is following you. That’s how we can minister to patients in ways that are relevant and appropriate, but also so that we can manage their diabetes or their hypertensive or issues or kidney issues or whatever the case may be,” he said.
The Georgia Baptist Healthcare Ministry Foundation recognizes the important role MercyMed plays in the Columbus metro area, with MercyMed receiving a $100,000 grant recently to help support the clinic’s primary care function. “We couldn’t agree more with the mission of MercyMed, and just as importantly, how they execute on that mission,” said Larry Wynn, Executive Director of the GBHCMF. “We know that healing was a hallmark of Christ’s ministry while He was on the earth, and we believe compassionate health care is critical to spreading the gospel today,” he said.