HAMMOND | The community will have a new resource for affordable health care starting Monday.
Regional Mental Health Center will open a Federally Qualified Health Clinic, called Regional Health Clinic, at 559 State St.
"This is a new foray for us," said Bob Krumwied, CEO of Regional Mental Health.
The agency, known for treating people with mental illness, also will offer primary health care, as well as adolescent, children's, men's and women's health care, and diagnostic lab services at the Hammond location.
Krumwied cited statistics that show people who suffer from chronic mental illness die earlier, on average. They do not die directly from mental illness but from ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, COPD and conditions often brought on by a sedentary lifestyle.
The mental health care community needed to address that statistic, he said.
"We hadn't attended to these issues," Krumwied said.
Access to transportation, cited in a local community health needs assessment as a problem, helped determine the location near downtown Hammond.
"We're going to be where they live," he said. "We wanted to focus on the homeless and on folks in public housing."
Those tend to be the people struggling with income and do not have a health home, he said.
The space, close to a homeless shelter and close to Hammond Housing Authority facilities, is being leased from First Baptist Church, he said.
The yearly operating cost is about $1.8 million. A $810,500 FQHC grant will help pay for expenses.
Fees for care will be based on a sliding fee/discount schedule.
“This facility will provide general and preventive healthcare for all ages including those receiving public housing, mental health services and people who are homeless,” said Sherry Oman, Regional Health Clinic executive director, in a statement.
The clinic will be open from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays.