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Memphis Project Brings Primary Care to Urban YMCAs

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   September 08, 2023

A new partnership will open primary care clinics in select YMCAs around Memphis, offering more convenient access to care for local neighborhoods as well as businesses.

A new partnership in Memphis aims to address local businesses' needs for primary care access for their employees as well as access to care in underserved neighborhoods.

Chamber Benefits, a health plan subsidiary of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, is joining forces with the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South and WeCare, a Florida-based provider of onsite and near-site primary care centers for businesses, to open primary care health centers in YMCAs across the greater Memphis area.

The project addresses an acute care gap in many cities: A lack of accessible primary care services for both businesses looking to get a handle on employee healthcare costs and underserved neighborhoods. Some cities have partnered with community health organizations and others to put health clinics in such sites as libraries, retail locations, and pharmacies or grocery stores.

These clinics are also good opportunities to address health equity issues in urban locations.

The goal here is to improve community health as well as support local businesses. It also aims to reduce the strain on local health systems by improving access to immediate and preventive care and cutting down on unnecessary emergency room and clinic traffic.

Each 2,500-square-foot clinic will have full-time staffs that include primary care physicians and health coaches.

“This is a partnership united by its love of Memphis and desire to see greater access to primary care throughout our community,” Ted Townsend, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said in a press release. “ChamberCare Health Centers are designed to improve not only the health of our community but of our economy. Enrolling in this program will help small businesses, which create two out of every three jobs, provide their employees with exceptional benefits at low costs in a highly competitive jobs market.”

“This partnership perfectly aligns with our mission to support programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all," added Jerry Martin, YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South's president and CEO. Providing access to quality healthcare, especially in areas with fewer options, enables us to broaden our services to continue to help families and individuals thrive on their journey to wellness.”

Organizers are currently deciding on three sites to open health centers, beginning in 2024. Businesses can enroll employees in the program for $40 per month per employee, while community residents can also enroll for $40 per month. Dependents are added on at no charge.

Following the opening of the first health centers, the partnership will open a new clinic in another YMCA location for every 2,000 people enrolled in the program, including dependents.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


Access to primary care is a challenge in urban areas, both for underserved communities and businesses seeking to manage employee healthcare costs.

These clinics, offering primary care services for $40 per month, are designed to not only improve community health outcomes but support local businesses.

They will also help local health systems and clinics that deal with crowded waiting rooms and ERs, especially with people seeking unnecessary or preventable care.

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