Inspired by Service: Q&A with Michelle Creager, CEO, Matthew 25 Health and Care
Transcribed from a conversation with Mary Tyndall of the St. Joe Foundation
Q: You recently joined Matthew 25 Health and Care as the CEO. Tell us about what brought you to your current position?
I am a CPA by trade. While in public accounting, I was fortunate enough to be involved with helping a group of physicians start their own practice. That really started my love for the medical world and helping people. I was most recently the Director of Medical Management at Physician’s Health Plan and I missed the more direct patient care, so I came to Matthew 25. It’s the best mix for me; I get to use my CPA mind, my medical mind, and the best part of all is that I get to bring my faith into it because we’re a faith-based organization.
Q: If someone had never heard of Matthew 25, how would you explain your work?
We are a not-for-profit faith-based organization. We provide free medical, dental, vision, and mental health services as well as medication to the most vulnerable residents in our community – the low-income, uninsured population. We serve adults 18 and over. We have over 500 volunteers, and they enable us to provide over 20 specialty clinics to the community. We see over 100 patients a day, serving over 20,000 patients annually. The patients who come here feel like they are just in any other doctor’s office; we provide the same procedures and advanced technologies as a private practice.
Q: How are you inspired by your work?
I believe we are put on this earth to serve others and I find myself constantly being inspired by our patients. The majority of the people we serve are the working poor, so they may have 2-3 jobs. They may have been laid off due to COVID and lost their insurance, so they come here to get the care they need. The gratitude they show to us is phenomenal.
Q: Can you provide us an example of a time when you were inspired by a patient, co-worker, or volunteer?
I’m inspired by my staff every day. They have the ability to make every person feel important and respected. They go above and beyond. For example, we had a person come into Matthew 25 looking for the location to get their hearing aids. The correct location was several blocks away and it was snowing and cold. The person had no transportation and my front desk manager didn’t skip a beat. She just grabbed her keys and drove the patient to the appointment. No one asked her to do that; that’s just the kind of service and care that Matthew 25 provides every day.
Q: How do you care for the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) at Matthew 25 Health and Care?
The patients at Matthew 25 come to us from all walks of life. They are sometimes uncomfortable, they’re uninsured, they’re a little scared. We are sometimes their last option. It’s times like that when God’s miracles can show themselves. We open our hearts as wide as we open our doors and we try to bring everybody dignity and respect. We realize that healing is not just physical. We conduct a spiritual health assessment every year. We ask patients the same questions before and after their care with us; questions like “Are you feeling hopeful? Do you feel as if you have less stress?” It’s phenomenal to see the results; it’s very encouraging for all staff to learn that we see quite a bit of improvement in the levels of hopefulness in patients after their treatment.
Q: How do you ensure that each patient receives high-quality care in a respectful and dignified manner?
All staff are trained to know that compassion is in the air we breathe, the words we speak. It’s in every set of vitals that we take and it’s administered with every prescription. The single most important thing that we can do is to give patients compassion, dignity, and respect. Everyone here is called to care.
We recently changed the name from Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic to Matthew 25 Health and Care because we know the mind, body, and soul are all part of a person’s health. We’re here to help people heal. We’re here to care about them, give them respect and dignity and help the whole individual.
Q: Where can people learn more about Matthew 25 Health and Care?
Our website is always a wonderful place to look, www.matthew25online.org. We are on Facebook, Instagram, and Linked In. We would love to have whatever support anyone is able to give us, whether it’s volunteering, financial contributions, and of course prayers. We don’t get any government monies so the support that we get, such as through the St. Joe Foundation, is greatly appreciated.