Church Health adapts mission to better serve people struggling during pandemic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Memphis and Shelby County, the COVID-19 pandemic is still painfully being felt by those without insurance and now without jobs.

Quincy Everette and his fiancee Dawn said the services at Church Health are needed now more than ever.

“I think it’s a good thing to have in the city of Memphis, considering a lot of people aren’t working, can’t find a job and need insurance,” Quincy said.

About 100,000 people have lost their jobs in recent weeks in the Memphis area, causing Church Health to rethink and expand its mission.

Dr. G. Scott Morris, the founder and CEO of Church Health, is bracing for a healthcare tsunami from those now out of work.

“What many of them are doing is just waiting, hoping they’ll get better with their problem or get their jobs back, and unless that happens immediately, then a month or two what are they going to do?” Morris said. “That’s the tsunami I refer to.”

The faith-based organization decided to provide affordable and high-quality care to not just the uninsured, but the unemployed.

“So they’re not choosing not to work,” Morris said. “This is right in the wheelhouse of Church Health. It is our mission.”

That’s a mission he believes is the right thing to do.

“Even though we had a criteria where you’d have to work 20 hours a week, for now, how could we not waive that requirement,” Morris said. “We believe this what God wanted us to do.”

Now in light of the recent civil unrest and protests after the death of George Floyd, Dr. Morris said it’s more important to reach out and help all of Memphis—both black and white.

“In the last few weeks, people have asked, what am I supposed to do?” Morris said. “People who look like me who are white, asking how do I make a difference? This is how you make a difference. Supporting the work of Church Health is absolutely going to support people of color.”

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