Press Releases

Four organizations bringing integrated care to the Metro

Published: Oct. 10, 2017

OMAHA —  Four organizations with more than 400 years of service to the Omaha community are coming together for the Kountze Commons Project, an initiative to feed and provide integrated care for those in need in the Metro area.

The 17,506 square foot Kountze Commons building will be the new home to the Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church Food Pantry, Healing Gift Free Clinic, Lutheran Family Services behavioral health services and medical care provided by the Methodist Community Health Clinic. The facility is located at 2650 Farnam Street.

“This truly is a wonderful example of four long-standing community organizations coming together to improve the lives, health and well-being of the underserved in Omaha,” said Olaf Roynesdal, Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church Pastor. “It is so rewarding, and humbling, to see our vision become a reality through the compassion and generosity of so many throughout the community.”

The Kountze Food Pantry, which began more than 35 years ago, serves individuals without eligibility requirements nor limits the number of times they can access the pantry.

The new 3,300 square foot space will allow the pantry to offer extended hours to patrons, provide perishable food in addition to shelf-stable food, toiletries and household items. The ability to efficiently store items will eliminate hours of volunteer time needed to prepare the pantry for distribution each week.

Once located at the Salvation Army building on 36th and Cuming, the Methodist Community Health Clinic will begin providing medical care to the underserved at the 26th & Douglas location.

With seven exam rooms and nearly double the prior space, Methodist providers will be offering a full-range of medical services to those in need of care. Since 2015, Methodist providers have cared for nearly 7,000 patients, and those numbers look to grow dramatically with the new location and access. Services available from the six care providers at the clinic will include physical exams and sports physicals, treatment of chronic health conditions, pregnancy testing and family planning, follow-up care for survivors of sexual assault and health education.

“We are certainly excited about this new, beautiful clinic space and the opportunity to provide low-cost health care to men, women and adolescents,” said Josie Abboud, Methodist Hospital executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This new location will also offer patients easy access to our medical team, with the convenient location and access to Metro bus transportation. Combine our medical care with the outreach efforts of Kountze and behavioral health programs of LFS to those in need in our community and this partnership fulfills the mission of our four organizations.”

The Healing Gift Free Clinic, which provides medical services and medication without charge, will continue to operate on Thursday afternoons, utilizing the Methodist Community Health Clinic exam rooms. The clinic will relocate their existing pharmacy to the new location to continue to provide non-narcotic medications for clinic patients.

Further enhancing and meeting the healthcare needs of the unserved and underserved will be Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, which will offer an array of behavioral health and emergency mental health crisis response services at Kountze Commons.

“We share the vision of Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church and Methodist in serving Omaha’s most vulnerable populations with holistic, individualized care,” said Ruth Henrichs, Lutheran Family Services president and chief executive officer. “Lutheran Family Services is a highly respected leader in providing services that promote individual and family well-being. This partnership will fill a critical need in the community, while also fulfilling the missions and visions of our organizations.”

The LFS clinic will have eight behavioral health therapists offering individual and family therapy, trauma-focused and trauma-informed care and 24/7 mobile crisis response and post-crisis response services.

Costs of the project were just over $10 million, with many of those dollars generated by the Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church’s “In the City for Good” Capital Campaign. Kiewit Building Group served as general contractor and Holland Basham Architects served as the project architects.