Sponsored by St Mary's Hospital (now known as Columbia-St. Mary's) since 1989, St. Ben's Clinic is a nurse practitioner-managed approach providing respectful and comprehensive primary care and social services to homeless adults. Today the Clinic also receives funding through the Health Care for the Homeless Program in Milwaukee and Wisconsin's Badger Care.
October, 1980 - The clinic was founded by Sr Ann Catherine Vierstahler and Kay Heyer, nurses working at St Anthony Hospital. The clinic started by using a small space at the back of the St Ben's Community Meal Hall. Nurses worked one night a week at the meal hall to provide follow-up for homeless men and women seen at St Anthony's Emergency Room.
1985 - Recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson/Pew Charitable Trust grant.
1987 - Recipient of Federal Health Care for the Homeless funds.
1989 - With the bankruptcy of St Anthony Hospital, St Mary's Hospital incorporated St. Ben's Clinic into its healthcare ministry. St Ben's Ministries shifted space at 1027 North 9th Street to allow the clinic to have three rooms, including one exam room.
1990 - Over the past decade five strategic planning sessions helped set future directions.
1993 - A mission stated was developed to restate a commitment to serving homeless men and women, especially those with mental illness and chemical dependency, and reinforcing the goal of providing hospitality and respect as well as quality health care.
1995 - As a result of the first strategic planning session, the Clinic expanded to the entire first floor of its current building to provide more exam rooms.
1996 - Strategic planning led to development of outreach services to meal sites, drop-in clinics and group homes.
1998 - A partnership was pursued with Milwaukee County as a General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP) Clinic.
2000 - A major expansion was completed providing five exam rooms to accommodate more clients and volunteer providers. Health education services for the patients is now a part of the services offered.
2005 - At the fifth strategic planning session the need to tell St. Ben's story to a wider circle, including hospitals and communities, is identified.
2010 - St. Ben's Clinic services expand to include monthly onsite medical consultations by a neurologist, cardiologist, and dermatoligist. the second floor includes a parish nurse office.