Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Sunday, February 25, 2018

malta 10th webStanding on the steps of the Malta House of Care health care clinic recently, longtime patients Jairo and Lilia Gonzalez of Hartford celebrate the 10th anniversary of the organization – and their 50th wedding anniversary, as well. (Photo submitted)

HARTFORD – Malta House of Care Inc., a mobile clinic that provides free primary health care to uninsured adults in Greater Hartford, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – and what a decade it’s been.

Since 2006, when Malta provided 477 patient visits at one site in the North End, the free clinic has grown exponentially: The big, white Malta van is now a weekly fixture in four different Hartford-area neighborhoods, providing 400-500 visits each month to adults without insurance.

By the end of this year, Malta will have provided more than 40,000 free patient visits during the past decades – and will have saved hospitals more than $20 million by keeping people out of emergency rooms and avoidable hospitalizations.

“We have much to celebrate,” said Malta’s executive director Barbara “Bobbie” Bartucca, who’s been with the nonprofit since 2008. “But we also have much work ahead.”

That’s why Malta is hosting a 10th anniversary celebration from 6-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Marriott Hartford Downtown, which is open to the public. For reservations or information about sponsorships and auction donations, visit www.maltahouseofcare.org/events.

The business-attire fund-raiser will include teacup and silent auctions, dinner and a program hon-oring the hundreds of volunteers who have made it possible for Malta to achieve its mission.

During the past decade, more than 300 volunteer doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have provided about $15 million of in-kind professional services on the Malta van; dozens of other volunteers have assisted with fund-raising events and in other key ways. Partnerships with St. Francis and Hartford hospitals have also been key. And, Ms. Bartucca has raised nearly $9 million with the help of many others from corporations, foundations and individual donors.

“Together with the generous and continued support of many of Hartford’s corporations, foundations and individual donors, as well as St. Francis and Hartford hospitals, we have been able to sustain and grow this incredible organization,” said Ms. Bartucca. “But as the demand for our services keeps increasing – we’ve had a 28 percent jump in patient visits so far this year – so, too, does our need for financial support.

“That’s why our event on Oct. 18 is so important,” Ms. Bartucca said.

“We are thrilled to be honoring and celebrating all those who helped us get to where we are today, but we must also step up our efforts to make sure we can continue to provide the excellent free primary care services that so many people depend on us for,” she added. “We are the true safety net for all safety nets.”