Presbyterian Medical Care Mission Celebrating 40 Years of Service


You’ll have to pardon Debra Burchett if she seems to be going in all directions these days.

She has every right to be. Burchett is riding herd over preparations for celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Presbyterian Medical Care Mission and her 10th year as its executive director.

“I am blessed daily by working with an amazing staff, volunteers, and patients,” she said. Burchett will celebrate her 10th anniversary leading the medical care mission in May.

The mission’s 40th anniversary will be celebrated with a dinner set for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at Station 1 Venue, 140 Mulberry St. The dinner will feature Dr. Brad Nieder, “The Healthy Humorist.” For ticket availability, call 325-696-7504 or click here to go to the website. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Presbyterian Medical Care Mission, 1857 Pine St., dates to 1983 when a community committee recognized a critical need in the Abilene area, affordable healthcare for a segment of the population that they described as the working poor. Many of the committee members were physicians from First Central Presbyterian Church. A section of the mission’s website explains:

“Although employed, many individuals in this group were simply financially unable to afford health insurance, were too young for Medicare, and generally ineligible for Medicaid. As a result of the absence of health insurance, their access to medical care was limited and medical care delayed.”

Statistics from the end of 2022 tell part of the story:

5,500–annual visits to the mission
21,163–estimated number of uninsured adults in Taylor County
47,000–people served since the mission was created in 1983

Currently, the medical mission offers primary medical care and prescription medication at little or no cost to people living in a 19-county area. Through a partnership with Hardin-Simmons University Department of Physical Therapy, the medical mission also offers limited PT services with second-year graduate students. 

The medical care mission is a charitable clinic, not a free clinic, Burchett emphasized. Average cost for an office visit is $25. Many patients have chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension, Burchett said. 

If it weren’t for the foresight of the community committee who saw a need 40 years ago and the continuing support of the community, a medical care mission for the working poor might not exist in Abilene.

“We express heartfelt gratitude to the Abilene community for their support of our mission and ministry for 40 years,” Burchett said. “It is impossible for a non-profit to survive without the support of the community.” 

Loretta Fulton is editor of Spirit of Abilene

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