Located in Frederick Maryland out of the Frederick Church of the Brethren, Mission of Mercy has treated expectant mothers and children of all ages since its inception in 1994. To handle the increase in demand for prenatal care, and to address the lack of available services in Frederick County, Maryland, Mission of Mercy launched a Prenatal Care Pilot Project in 2001. This included the recruitment of an obstetrician and expansion of its prenatal services. In 2002, MOM expanded its services further by recruiting a volunteer nurse mid-wife, establishing a separate waiting and examination area, increasing the clinics days, and increasing the patient load.
Mothers participating in Mission of Mercy’s Prenatal Care Program receive:
A series of personal visits with a doctor and/or nurse mid-wife
Supply of daily multivitamins and other necessary prescription medications
Lab and diagnostic imaging services, such as fetal ultrasound and Doppler imaging
Prenatal blood work, urinalysis and cultures
Copy of complete medical records
The volunteer physicians of Mission of Mercy cannot deliver a child, so prior to a mother’s due date, we provide her with a copy of her medical records, including lab and fetal Doppler imaging results. When she goes into labor and presents herself at an emergency room, the hospital has background information on the mother and child.
Mission of Mercy’s prenatal care program does two very important things to make a difference in the lives of its participants. First, it cuts down the barrier of uninsured mothers receiving prenatal care and allows them to receive care earlier in their pregnancy and more often. Lack of prenatal care contributes to poorer maternal health. The care they receive allows potentially serious complications to be diagnosed early, while treatment is still feasible, thus heading-off potentially serious consequences such as short gestation and low birth weight. Low birth weight infants face a much higher risk of health problems and death than other newborns.
Secondly, it provides expectant mothers with a sense of comfort in knowing they are doing what they can to help bring a healthy child into the world. They know that they have a place to turn if they have questions about their pregnancy or have concerns about their health. The support they receive at the clinic, and the anxiety that is removed from their life, also plays a major part in the health of their child. Mothers who do not speak English also have access to translators.
Mission of Mercy dispenses free prescription medications only to those patients who are treated at our clinics. The formulary contains over 225 types of medications and each patient averages two or more free prescriptions per visit. Prescriptions are provided on-site, immediately after treatment.
Patients requiring medications not available in our formulary are assisted by volunteers who register patients for the Pharmacy Assistance Programs offered by the larger pharmaceutical companies. These medications are shipped to Mission of Mercy and dispensed to the patient at no charge. More than $800,000 in medications is recouped annually through these programs.