Baby Health Service (BHS) was founded in 1914 by a group of Lexington, Kentucky women who were interested in providing free formula for infants suffering from malnutrition and rickets. The founding women, led by Emma Haggin, provided milk, cod liver oil and even food for these babies. Over the years, services changed as the needs of the community changed. Immunizations, weekly clinics and home visits were added in the 1920’s. When welfare began after War World II, the board adopted its current policy of working only with families that are not eligible for government assistance. Services evolved from focusing on nutrition to providing care for acute illnesses. Initially, pediatricians volunteered their time seeing children each morning with nurses doing follow-up home visits in the afternoon.
In 1996, the Board of Directors, under the guidance of Dr. William Underwood, recognized the growing need for extended hours for both well and sick childcare.
Baby Health Service came into existence as Baby Milk Supply in 1914. It enjoyed much success as many families received free formula and milk for their babies who were suffering from malnutrition and rickets. Over time, the needs of the community changed and we evolved as well. Volunteer doctors and nurses began seeing children with illnesses but no insurance. We originally offered weekly clinics, immunizations, care for acute illnesses and home visits. The name changed to Baby Health Service in 1956, when we became a full-service health clinic for children, birth to 12 years of age. St. Joseph Hospital (SJH) made space available to the clinic. In 1983, SJH allowed us to use the space we currently occupy in the Parker House on Harrodsburg Road where our doors are open from 7:30 am - 1:00 pm Mondays and Fridays, and 7:30 am - 12:00 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Our predecessors met many challenges along the way, paving the path for our current services. But with each challenge came the opportunity to find new resources, new methods, and new facilities to aid the children who needed and continue to need them the most. Our mission, and largest challenge, of providing free, quality health care for the uninsured children in the Lexington Community remains constant. In November 2011, we increased the age limit of the patients we treat from 12 through 17 years. We are enjoying immediate success with this change, which also presents new challenges, including an increased number of patients, as well as different examinations, treatments and medications required by a new age group. We hope to increase our operating funds in order to treat the adolescent age group, a group which would conceivably fall through the cracks without our services.
Childhood obesity in Kentucky continues at an alarming rate. In June 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated Kentucky children ranked third in the nation for obesity! The nursing staff and volunteer physicians have asked our Board of Directors for help in tackling this problem among the children who use our clinic. We are now tracking the body mass index (BMI) of all children who are seen in the clinic. We hope to educate the children and especially their parents on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, both immediate and long-term. There are programs, incentives and educational materials available that we would like to purchase for these families and their children to assist with this important initiative, endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
We strive constantly to update our equipment to keep it current so that we may provide the best healthcare for our young patients. As items become more specialized, they increase in price. We are trying to become more multilingual as children from 43 nations and languages visit our clinic. We are constantly working on translation, language and literacy options for all our families, which costs additional money. It appears that electronic medical record keeping is going to become a necessity in the near future. Baby Health Service, Inc. plans on moving forward in this direction in the future. In addition to purchasing the necessary new software, additional funds are needed for electronic notebooks and for the cost of installation and maintenance of the software necessary for this enormous transition. Ninety-six percent of all monies received go directly to our patients for medicines, x-rays, lab work, shots and much more, so our budget does not allow for many “wants," only "needs.”
Baby Health Service is truly an extraordinary organization. I first became involved in Baby Health Service through the Junior League of Lexington in 1992. I am among the many Board members who have been on the Board for 15, 18, even 25 years who rotate off after our three year membership, but then reappear one or two years later. I have served on the Executive Board as president for 2 separate terms, as a grant writer, and now as as president once again. What a wonderful service Baby Health provides our community – We are unique in our mission of serving the less fortunate children in our wonderful Lexington community.
BHS has a new partnership with Bluegrass Community & Technical College Dental Hygiene Program to offer free dental x-rays, exams and cleanings. Volunteer dentists now see children for follow up care.
Wende’s Wellness is a series of programs to provide health habits resources. Healthy Habit Backpacks, Get Active package with movement games, exercise classes, nutrition courses, starting of a community garden and so much more.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507