LONGTIME RESIDENT Lynn Brumfield has spent much of her professional career at Cubic Transportation Systems in Tullahoma. However, after around 20 years of service at Cubic, Brumfield was approached by friends and board members of Partners For Healing. The group was looking for an executive director for the nonprofit organization and contacted Brumfield about the position. After careful thought and consideration, Brumfield found herself saying “yes” to the call.
Brumfield shared, “My role at Cubic had always included some kind of project management, which can be summed up like this: Here’s this project. You need to do these things. It should cost this much money, and you have this much time to do it. In some ways, that is also what happens here [at Partners For Healing]. We have medical services we need to provide. There is a certain amount of money we have to do it. Sometimes we have enough, and sometimes we don’t. But we go get it done within the projected time frame. So, as far as transitioning to nonprofits, everything has worked out fairly well.”
But what could cause a career engineer to make a drastic change like this? Brumfield shared, “I had been familiar with Partners for quite some time. My husband and I have been longtime members at First Methodist Church and were familiar with Dr. Bill Starnes and all the efforts made to start the clinic. Additionally, we have been financial and moral supporters of the clinic for years, so we have been connected to Partners for quite some time.”
Brumfield continued, “Just as Dr. Starnes and Fran Marcum had identified years ago, there was this unmet need in town. If you were very poor, typically, you could get your needs met by TennCare. Then, if you had enough money, you could get insurance and have a reasonable provider. However, there was this gap where folks simply didn’t have options. And I think the gap became particularly obvious when it came to things like mental health. People in that range didn’t have access to mental health, which is very difficult. Though we have had a counselor here almost since the beginning, there were still some gaps.”
Although she would prefer to remain under the radar in humility, Partners for Healing has been wildly successful in expanding its services to include things such as telehealth options and increased mental health services under the leadership of Brumfield. In the last few years, the organization has built a partnership with Centerstone. Brumfield explained, “To compliment our counseling services, we have a psychiatric nurse practitioner from Centerstone that comes one day a week. Her primary focus is medication management for folks with various mental health issues.” Adding services like these makes the Partners For Healing clinic a much greater asset for clients.
For those unfamiliar, Partners for Healing is a local nonprofit that serves the uninsured population of Coffee, Franklin, and Moore counties. They provide free primary healthcare to households of the working uninsured, those transitioning between jobs, and full-time students who do not have healthcare. The clinic offers free primary care, mental health counseling, and various other medical services to those who need them.
The clinic has the ability to help so many people in our community. Still, oftentimes a stigma surrounding free healthcare or “needing help” turns many away before they arrive at the front doors. When asked what she hoped people understood about Partners For Healing, Brumfield responded, “We are simply for people who don’t have insurance. That’s it. So people like hairdressers, contractors, and other self-employed people, this is an option for you! For example: in a household of two, you can make almost $46,000 and still qualify for our services! We are just a regular clinic, not a walk-in clinic, and we are here and willing to serve families in the area.” GN