After Shutdown Threat, Magothy Health Center Continues To Serve

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The Magothy Health Center (MHC) and Thrift Shop, located on the corner of Mountain Road and Catherine Avenue, has been supporting Pasadena residents since before World War II. That almost changed this year.

The Magothy Health Association, a nonprofit that leases the land to the county for $1 per year, was ready to sell the property after the Department of Health decided to consolidate services and direct people to offices in Annapolis and Glen Burnie. The center’s future became a campaign issue and the center remained intact.

“The center and staff there do a number of referrals for screenings,” said Elin Jones, public information director for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. “Although they could get that service at other locations, people seem to enjoy the direct service there. They can talk to a nurse or records technician. You put a face to your health care and information, and that’s comforting to a lot of people.”

The MHC started as a clinic for mothers and children on August 17, 1938, and since then has been functioning as a public-private partnership between two entities that provide health services to the community. The public entity is the Department of Health and the private entity is the nonprofit Magothy Health Center Inc., which houses both the thrift shop and the Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s cancer screening referral services offices.

Today, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP), located at the MHC, strives to help educate and empower women. The program provides referrals for annual well-women screenings such as mammograms, Pap and HPV testing to eligible woman. Women may be eligible for assistance through BCCP if they are 40 years or older, reside in Anne Arundel County, have low or no income, have no health insurance or have insurance that doesn't cover cervical or breast diagnostic services, or are insured but must meet a high deductible. However, referrals for cervical screening and diagnostic services are available now for women ages 21 to 39.

In 2018, more than 600 women living in Anne Arundel County were provided with free health screenings and BCCP paid for roughly 1,700 procedures at private providers.

Program supervisor Amy Kane said that she and her staff educate people about the Department of Health services by sharing placing brochures at grocery stores, pharmacies and libraries.

“We target low-income areas of the county,” Kane said, “but we don’t just serve Pasadena. We serve Arnold, Severna Park, Linthicum and Glen Burnie.”

The main source of funds for the MHC building is the thrift shop, which is open on Wednesday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The thrift shop sells donated new and used clothing, shoes, jewelry, dishes and other household items at prices significantly lower than Goodwill and consignments shops.

“It’s not just clothing,” said Cathy Kellenbenz, a thrift shop volunteer. “We get a lot of knickknacks, pots and pans.”

Magothy Health Association President Julie Lopez estimates that 15 people visit the shop on Saturdays, while Wednesdays are a bit slower.

“We get so many donations that we can be selective,” Lopez said, emphasizing the community support for the center. “We have leftover donations that go to local churches.”

The thrift shop will sponsor an end-of-summer sale on August 17 from 10:00am until 2:00pm. Clothing and household items will be available inside the shop and outside in the parking lot if the weather cooperates. Local residents can pay just $7 to fill a provided bag with anything that is not already priced.

The board of the MHC is sponsoring the sale to increase community awareness of the MHC and its partnership with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. For more information about volunteering for the thrift shop, call Julie Lopez at 813-486-3127. To learn more about the services BCCP offers, call 410-222-6180.

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