Teresa Lovelady was an uninsured student with little money in 2006 when she needed treatment for her young son with asthma.
“I didn’t want to be mom’s shame,” she said.
HealthCore Clinic not only helped the two, but also provided free healthy and sick child visits to her son until he was 5 years old.
“And I’ve been part of their mission ever since.”
Today, Lovelady is President and CEO of HealthCore and leads the nonprofit in its biggest mission yet. She is embarking on a campaign to fund up to $35 million for a second HealthCore site, this time in South Wichita.
HealthCore co-founders Arneatha Martin and Bud Gates raised $2.6 million to open the original clinic, then called the health and wellness centeron 5,500 square feet in 1998.
Lovelady led a nearly $11 million campaign to open a new 45,000 square foot clinic at 2707 E. 21st St. in 2018.
The latest clinic will offer similar services, but in a 75,000-square-foot building on five acres of the 70-acre OneRise Health Campus, the Lange Community Foundation’s planned behavioral health campus near the northwest corner of Meridian and MacArthur .
“Mental health issues are front and center these days more than they have ever been,” said Jeff Lowrance of Lang Real Estate. “So we think now is a really good time to do something transformational.”
Lowrance said mental illness can cover a lot of things, like addiction.
“These issues are not discriminatory.”
HealthCore has a broader reach, offering behavioral health services – including therapy and help with addiction and psychiatric issues – as well as medical, dental, pharmaceutical, imaging and optical services, among others.
“We have just been blown away by the amazing HealthCore,” Lowrance said.
Gates and his son, Ryan, introduced Lowrance to Lovelady – “She’s an angel,” Lowrance said – to explain what the Lange family is trying to do with OneRise.
“And about 15 minutes later she’s like, ‘You know what? I’m going to help you do this,'” Lowrance said.
“Everyone thinks we’re stupid or crazy or both.”
Lowrance said he had no idea how big HealthCore was in Wichita’s northeast area, and Lovelady said that’s what she wanted to do for the South Side.
“We know there’s a huge need for access to what we’re doing on the south side,” she said.
Matt Tannehill, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Lange Community Foundation, said, “HealthCore is this really amazing model of integrated health.”
“They solve that need in that area.”
He said south and southwest Wichita are historically under-resourced areas.
HealthCore is “a great anchor. . . to help piece together what this campus strives to be,” Tannehill said.
He said the clinic’s model is to leave no one without services.
“It’s really, really powerful. This is what we want to be.
A community resource
As an integrated health care facility, the new HealthCore will offer services beyond health care to “support the community (in) this part of town,” Lovelady said.
There will be a poverty innovation center within it to examine the social determinants that lead to health problems. As at the Northeast Clinic, there will also be a pantry with fresh fruits, vegetables, canned goods and frozen meats.
Lovelady said HealthCore will provide access to services regardless of someone’s ability to pay. She said HealthCore was founded to ensure everyone in northeast Wichita has affordable access to primary care because there are huge health disparities.
Many HealthCore patients live below the poverty line. Lovelady said there are variable fees based on income.
Of the approximately 11,000 people the clinic currently serves each year, 35% are uninsured, 40% are on Medicaid, 10% on Medicare, and 15% have commercial insurance.
HealthCore helps connect uninsured people with ways to get insured.
“That’s what’s really beneficial,” Lovelady said.
Other services include anger management classes, parent training, and other court-approved courses. There will be classes on diabetes and nutrition.
Similar to the Northeast Clinic, there will be a fitness room to prepare people to become YMCA members and start working out with confidence.
Part of the new center will be designed so that if ever the clinic needs to do mass vaccinations, it can.
There will also be a conference center for 250 people.
“It will also be open to the community,” Lovelady said.
HealthCore also has a mobile unit.
“We’re trying to take the best of what we do here and put it into a mobile unit to take out into the community,” Lovelady said.
HealthCore also serves Wichita’s refugee population.
“We are the International Patient Health Center for South Central Kansas,” Lovelady said.
She said HealthCore has helped hundreds of refugees connect to care.
Part of its mission is to reduce and eliminate stigma, especially for minority communities. Lovelady’s compassion and passion shine through.
“I love HealthCore.”
Lowrance said HealthCore is an innovative system that combines many things.
“They do it in an extremely sophisticated way,” he said. “It’s state-of-the-art in all areas. You will not hesitate to go there.
“A Better Way”
The new HealthCore will be located in the CrossGate district, which is what Lange Real Estate has labeled 13 square miles – from I-235 to the north, I-35 to the east and Big Ditch to the west and in the south – and where he plans an investment of $200-300 million over the next three decades.
“It’s a medical wasteland,” Lowrance said.
“We’re laser focused on the behavioral health stuff. I’m sure this will evolve as the campus grows.
Tannehill, who joined the team to lead the development of OneRise in October, worked with representatives from WestEast and Haven for Hope on how to proceed.
They “really help us create this framework of what could be here in Wichita”.
He also “talks to nonprofits to get a sense of their current situation, their needs, and the needs of the community.”
A big focus with OneRise is connectivity.
After reviewing current systems in Wichita, Tannehill said, “We’re so fragmented.”
There may be many services to help people in crisis, but in having to navigate them, he said, “we find that mental health crises are exacerbated.”
OneRise aims to bring together nonprofit organizations and medical providers.
“There are wonderful, amazing nonprofits out there doing amazing work,” Tannehill said.
However, he said, “We kind of do the same thing over and over again, and not much changes. . . . How could we create a system and help improve the systems that really move the needle? »
Tannehill said it was to help groups pursue their missions and collaborate on campus.
He said the Lange family believes connectivity improvements need to be made, especially with nonprofits that focus on homelessness.
The family members “honestly understood that they weren’t the experts, but they knew they wanted to be part of this change.”
When Lowrance considered OneRise, it said it wanted to “have a space for people who can’t shelter”.
“We don’t know how to do that yet,” he said. “We are trying to put this puzzle together.”
He said that when he saw people with mental illness living on the streets downtown, he said to himself, “There has to be a better way.
“Really cool story”
There are discussions with other groups about whereabouts at OneRise, and Lowrance said there may be a specific building on the 70 acres at some point.
Even if nothing else developed there, however, he said, “Bringing a HealthCore facility. . . game changer for the CrossGate District.
Tannehill said: “First, it’s going to show the legitimacy of our intent to really create change for our community.”
He said HealthCore shows durability.
“This is the important piece. . . . HealthCore is the first anchor for this, but we see many more to come.
Lovelady said she hopes to break ground in 2024 or 2025 on a 14 to 16 month build with Huton.
“When we first started talking about it, we were at $25 million,” Lovelady said.
With inflation, the cost of everything has gone up.
Lovelady is seeking a combination of grants, federal funds, tax credits, investments and donor money.
And she said she looks forward to collaborating with others who will follow at OneRise.
“There’s a really cool story here,” she said.
Tannehill said it “really helps create this community where each member lives their healthiest, most fulfilling life.”
It’s about new beginnings, like the one Lovelady had herself.
After graduating and gaining insurance, she decided to return to HealthCore, and she first gave back by serving on the board of directors before becoming a paid employee and eventually leading the organization.
“I didn’t know where to go and they were there for me.