Bishop Parkes Blesses New Pinellas Hope Medical Respite Facility

Posted inCourageously Living the Gospel

On October 20th, Bishop Gregory Parkes blessed a new medical facility that helps homeless men and women on the road to recovery. The BayCare Medical Respite Program located at Pinellas Hope of Catholic Charities, provides housing, medications and other health care services to support patients in need of medical care. After being discharged from one of four BayCare hospitals – St. Anthony’s, Morton Plant, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin – patients can go to the Medical Respite to receive additional care.

“It was great to bless the Pinellas Hope Health Center & Medical Respite today in Clearwater. It will provide medical and post-hospital care to the homeless. I am very grateful to St. Anthony’s Hospital for making this possible,” said Bishop Parkes in a Tweet following the event.

St. Anthony’s Hospital, which oversees the coordination of the Medical Respite Program, allocated $200,000 from its Community Health Needs Assessment fund to replace and update the facility. The larger unit provides increased medical access to clients of Pinellas Hope, which works with individuals experiencing homelessness.

“We are proud to be able to provide our quality care to this vulnerable population,” said Sr. Mary McNally, OSF, St. Anthony’s vice president of mission services. “For more than a decade, we have worked to provide these crucial medical services to those who are experiencing homelessness.”

The medical respite program is a collaborative partnership between Pinellas Hope – Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and BayCare. As part of the larger Pinellas Hope community, the medical respite program provides medical services while working toward increased health education and access to basic medical care for clients of the program that can help decrease hospitalizations and emergency room visits. The goal is to help clients heal while decreasing the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

“Catholic Charities is grateful for our continued partnership with BayCare,” said Maggie Rogers, executive director, Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg. “Their support of our most vulnerable clients, especially during these trying times, demonstrates they live their mission to provide high-quality, compassionate care throughout the community.”

Each Medical Respite client resides in a cottage, a small one-room housing unit, and receives daily care and support. Some clients simply need a stable place to regain their strength while others need continued medical treatment. Clients who need such services as wound care, IV antibiotics or other medical treatment receive visits from BayCare Home Care Services.

Before a client is discharged from the program, an appointment is established for the client with a primary care provider which ensures access to medications. Each client moves into some type of housing, including the Pinellas Hope camp if needed. The program assisted more than 1,200 clients last year.

About Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg: Catholic Charities, an accredited Non-Profit agency for 70+ years, is a leader in serving the poor and vulnerable within Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties. Under the auspices of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, it served over 14,300 individuals last year with services including but not limited to providing food and shelter, immigration and refugee assistance, respite care and medical screening, and pregnancy and adoption assistance. Learn more at

About Pinellas Hope: Pinellas Hope, a ministry of Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg opened in December 2007 to address the need to provide the homeless with temporary shelter. What began as a pilot program has assisted over 6,600 men and women with shelter, food and related services, returning nearly 3,400 to stable, permanent housing. Additional information is available at

About St. Anthony’s Hospital: St. Anthony’s Hospital is a 393-bed hospital founded in 1931 as a ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. St. Anthony’s has a rich history dedicated to improving the health of the community by providing high-quality, innovative and compassionate care. It was one of the first hospitals that joined together to form BayCare Health System. For more information on St. Anthony’s, call (727) 953-6993 or go to

About BayCare: BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.  For more information visit

Pinellas Hope Medical Respite Facility is made possible in part by generous donors of the Annual Pastoral Appeal.