Methodist Healthcare Ministries awards funds to area nonprofits each year with the goal of increasing access to health care. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas announced awards totaling $32 million to nonprofit agencies in across its 74-county service area on Wednesday. 

The nonprofit organization, which co-owns Methodist Healthcare System with for-profit health care facilities operator HCA Healthcare, targeted its 2020 funding toward building health equity across South Texas to help “the least served” access quality health care, said Jaime Wesolowski, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries.

“The strategic partners we have engaged will further our efforts to support the growth of resilient families and the creation of thriving communities throughout our service region, leading to increasing access to quality care for the least served,” Wesolowski said in a statement Wednesday.

Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM), which was founded in 1995, gives out grants each year to area nonprofits with the goal of increasing access to health care. In 2019, MHM spent more than $104 million to help underserved communities and gave $32.2 million as part of its annual grant distribution, according to spokesman Teno Villarreal.

On Wednesday, MHM announced it would distribute its 2020 grants to more than 90 organizations, including the San Antonio Food Bank, Family Violence Prevention Services, and CentroMed. The organization gave the bulk of its funding to support the delivery and quality of primary care, with $12.8 million going to organizations such as SAMMinistries and the People’s Community Clinic.

MHM invested $6.5 million in giving people living in medically underserved areas access to health care, with grants awarded to organizations such as the South Texas Rural Health Services and I Care San Antonio. More than $16.6 million of the grant funding was allocated to Bexar County-area nonprofits.

Find the full list of grant recipients here.

The largest single award went toward the South Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC); the council received $4.7 million for operations, infrastructure, and programming of the South Texas Crisis Collaborative. And San Antonio-based CommuniCare Health Centers received two grants, totaling just over $2 million, in 2020. CommuniCare has received more than $34.5 million from Methodist Healthcare Ministries since 1996 and has benefited from that partnership, the health centers’ President and CEO Paul Nguyen said.

“The funding that CommuniCare receives gives patients access to the Integrated Health Improvement & Prevention Program, which allows uninsured patients with chronic conditions to utilize our medical and dental services,” Nguyen said. “Our patients are very appreciative of this program and have access to continuity and quality care in Bexar County. As a grantee, CommuniCare is able to improve patient health outcomes and successfully educate the community on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

Methodist Healthcare Ministries also gave $1.1 million to nonprofit organizations in its 74-county service area in April for coronavirus-related response efforts. Of that total, $400,000 in grants went to Bexar County-area groups, such as the San Antonio Diaper Bank. MHM might distribute additional emergency grants to other nonprofits this year, Villarreal said.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.