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A decade after its founding, the Congregational Health Network (CHN) is a force for good. The CHN, the heart and soul of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s Center in Excellence for Faith and Health, recently surpassed 580 congregations, 20,000 member patients and 700 congregational liaisons.
The numbers are impressive, but it’s the increased quality and depth of care they represent that are the real reasons for celebration says CHN program manager Kimberly Lamar.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “Ten years later, our aim is still the same: to make the walls of the hospital invisible and integrate all types of care. I believe it’s happening.”
In Memphis, like urban areas across the U.S., healthcare disparities are real and growing. The CHN, Lamar says, is a bridge to greater access for thousands of patients.
“The idea of the CHN is that we can bring that care to you,” she said. “And it’s the same or better quality of care and service that they might be going out of their way to find.”
An additional reason to celebrate came when the CHN was named as a finalist for the 2014 Hospital Charitable Service Award presented by Jackson Healthcare. The awards honor hospital community programs that are working to eliminate health disparity and set new standards for health and wellness in their communities through education, access and delivery. The awards will be presented in Atlanta in February.
Meantime and for the foreseeable, Lamar expects to continue to see the network grow in size and scope, resulting in a healthier Memphis.
“Methodist has so many programs and services on the cutting edge, but if no one knows about them we don’t serve them the way we should,” she said. “We are the outreach arm of the system and becoming more and more critical to the survival of the hospital.”