Health services now available at Rescue Mission

Sean Philip Cotter

A couple of old administrative office rooms in the York Rescue Mission building will now serve as part-time medical facilities for the folks living there.

Matthew Carey, the mission's CEO, and Katallasso Family Health Center president Brian Keeger teamed up to cut a ribbon Tuesday afternoon in front of the building at 367 W. Market St. as close to 50 people watched.

Carey said the addition of health services will improve the lives of those the shelter serves.

"If people feel good, they do good," he said.

The doctor's office will be staffed from noon until 4 p.m. every Tuesday by volunteers from Katallasso, which is headquartered a couple of blocks down at 31 S. Belvidere Ave. These new facilities in the rescue mission are geared toward people in the mission's residency program, which right now gives beds to 47 men, 27 women and 11 children, he said.

The average length of stay for people living there is around six months, Carey said.

The idea is for everyone in the program to have a health evaluation at this office upon admission and then be helped by the clinic when it's needed. The transient population who might spend just a night or two in the rescue mission — in what's called an emergency shelter program, which is a different program — would be encouraged instead to go to Katallasso's headquarters for medical care, Carey said.

Matthew Carey, executive director of LifePath Christian Ministries - formerly York Rescue Mission - gives a tour of the medical facilities in his organization's building. March 30, 2016. Photo by Sean Philip Cotter.

What used to be "underutilized" administrative offices near the front door have been turned into a classic-looking doctor's office, he said. Sedate blue walls enclose a small waiting area with a receptionist's desk, a few chairs and shelves of pamphlets, and then, through another door, a private examination room holds a doctor's bed, a laptop and various medical supplies.

This is paid for with grants from WellSpan Health and the York County Community Foundation, among other private donations.

"There's no government money in this place," Kreeger announced proudly before cutting the ribbon.

People who are suffering from more minor ailments such as strep throat can get medication from the Katallasso personnel. If there's something more serious, they'll refer the patients to specialists, hospitals or addiction-treatment centers, Carey said.

Without these services, many of the people who stay at the rescue mission likely would get most of their medical care from hospital emergency rooms, Carey said. He said facilities such as this unclog the process by addressing — or at least identifying — medical issues early on.

In that vein, he hopes it can overall increase the well-being of the people who reside there by teaching them how to generally avoid the kinds of maladies that have landed them in the doctor's office.

"Why are you continually not feeling well?" he said it will teach people to ask themselves.

— Reach Sean Cotter or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.