Baby Health Service was founded in 1914 to provide baby formula at no cost to needy families. Today the mission has expanded greatly to meet the changing needs of children in the community. Since well over 18% of Fayette County children have no insurance, the focus and mission has evolved into providing total health care to children between the ages of birth through 12 years. Baby Health Service is now a pediatric health clinic that provides free medical care to children whose families are ineligible for a medical card, yet cannot afford health insurance. These are the children of the “working poor”, who often fall through the cracks in the current health system.
The clinic is open five mornings a week. It is staffed by 15 physicians who volunteer their time on a rotating basis prior to attending to their own practices. Volunteer board members actually work in the clinic and facilitate the running of the clinic during clinic hours. The only paid staff consists of a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, an R.N. and an L.P.N. This personnel assists the physicians in providing well and sick child examinations, immunizations, x-rays and blood tests. Medicines are also dispensed at no cost to the families that come to Baby Health Service.
In 1998 over 3,500 children received medical care at Baby Health. Annually, the numbers of clients increase, but the clinic is operated without any United Way or federal funding. The board members work to meet an operating budget by soliciting funds through grants, foundations, corporations and individuals in the community.
Through the volunteer efforts the physicians and board members in 1997, President Clinton and the Points of Light Foundation presented Baby Health Service the prestigious “President’s Service Award”. Baby Health Service truly demonstrates what can be accomplished in a community without government reliance.