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Rising Stars: Meet Jaynell (KK) Assmann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaynell (KK) Assmann.

Care Beyond the Boulevard, Inc. (CBB) is a 501© three that was formed in 2016 to provide medical services to the homeless and underserved, uninsured populations in the greater Kansas City metro area. The goal of CBB is to provide compassionate healthcare to all. CBB started when the founder, Jaynell (KK) Assmann was volunteering every Monday night at Micah Ministries in the Northeast area of Kansas City, Missouri.

During this time volunteering, serving food to the homeless and underserved, KK realized there was a vast lack in healthcare to the “guests” frequenting Micah ministries for food and clothing every Monday evening. KK was a registered nurse and had been for nearly 20 years at that time, and was in school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner and realized the need for medical care for those seeking assistance at Micah Ministries. The goal of the founder was to open a clinic inside Micah within three years of graduating from Nurse Practitioner School, the first clinic inside Micah was held on March 21, 2016, just two months after KK completing NP school.

CBB originally collaborated with another non-profit healthcare facility in the metro, with them serving as the fiduciary agent. This allowed CBB to develop a base, a routine and utilize the electronic health record (EHR). For six months, CBB held a clinic in conjunction with Micah Ministries to build up a relationship and grow more familiar with the patients. On September 1, 2016 the small team of volunteers loaded up in the pick-up of the founders’ husband, Chris, loaded with medical supplies, socks, blankets and a handful of volunteers. Our first encampment was found by walking up to an individual on a bike at a gas station in the Northeast and asking “hey, do you know where we could find a homeless encampment”. He said sure, we loaded up his bike and he directed us to our beloved Kensington stop. That is the way we started many of our stops, word of mouth, connecting with other organizations that were already on the streets serving food and providing other essentials to the homeless in the metro.

As a grassroots organization, CBB focused on growth and to mold to the needs of the people being served. After nearly a year making street rounds two nights per week, it was evident that with the services in the community, the CBB teams would better serve the patients with a large mobile medical unit. A 39 foot school bus was donated by a local dealership with funds to renovate secured through a private donor. Chris Assmann spent about nine months working weekends to transform the school bus into a mobile medical clinic with examination rooms, storage for medications and supplies needed to care for those experiencing homelessness.

Shortly after the bus renovations were complete, CBB became an independent 501©3 with a board, a new electronic health record (EHR) as well as functioning as a completely independent entity. With a focus on providing quality, compassionate healthcare for all; CBB, the volunteers and the board has always worked to make sure the patients are at the center of the organization’s heart and planning. CBB volunteers worked three nights per week, most working full-time during the day and volunteering their medical and non-medical gifts to share with those most vulnerable in the community. With the growth of becoming an independent organization partnership were developed with international relief organizations who provided mediations and supplies. Medications are donated through Direct Relief International, AmeriCares and Heart to Heart international. Non-medical donations come through partnerships with Bombas, many community partnerships and individual donations.

In August of 2019 CBB became a partner with Athena health, a leader in the HER, improving the recordkeeping and report availability of the patients served. Athena provides their services for free to many clinics like CBB throughout the nation. Having Athena, in combination with mobile WiFi purchased by CBB, clinicians are able to chart in real-time, either on the bus or in a camp. This capability improves accuracy of documentation, gives providers the ability to add pictures (such as wounds) to the patient chart for later comparison, and have previous treatments and medications for established patients at their fingertips.

CBB partners with local organizations to provide services as well as have storage and safety of supplies and equipment. Independence Boulevard Christian Church, the home of Micah Ministries located in the northeast of Kansas City, Mo, provides space for storage of medication, dressing supplies, testing equipment and all other supplies CBB uses on the bus and in various clinics. Fire Stables, in Lenexa, Ks graciously provides a covered space for storage of the bus and more of the supplies necessary for nights the teams are providing healthcare on the streets. Fire Stables also provides a “home” for the CBB administrative assistant, allowing a base of operations with WiFI, electricity, phone lines and rooms for meetings with staff, the board as well as allowing CBB to host two fundraisers at no cost to the organization. CBB does not have a fixed location, but the space provided by these two organizations is invaluable to the consistent delivery of care and services by the team.

The mainstay of CBB is having professional volunteers providing the bulk of services. CBB has over 100 volunteers including; physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, retired medical professionals, bus drivers, medical students, nursing students, and non-medical professionals rounding out the volunteers working in the clinics and on the bus every week. CBB has grown to require full time employees to ensure smooth organizational functioning, volunteer coordination and day to day operations. As of January 2021, CBB employees one full-time administrative assistant, one part-time logistics coordinator and contracts through local grants a housing coordinator, the staff also include a part-time bookkeeper. CBB depends heavily on the volunteers for both day to day operations from a functional level and the volunteer participation of the board of directors. The board of directors consists of professionals from both medical and non-medical backgrounds to ensure medicine and business balance to the organization.

Adding new clinics to the CBB volunteers is always exciting, knowing there will be a chance to reach more people, to work to improve the health and well-being of those who are often overlooked. CBB has partnered with multiple organizations to provide care to those on the fringes of society, with a Saturday clinic in Argentine with Better Together, reaching out to Leavenworth meal sites to provide healthcare, opening a Thursday night clinic at Cherith Brook in the Northeast and working in Independence with Team Jesus to open a regular clinic site.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has been a very busy road, with a lot of challenges and sacrifices by me and my family. but it has been worth it. Struggles have been trying to work a full-time job while making sure that CBB is operating, consistent and able to ensure longevity to be dependable to the patient population that we serve. Running a nonprofit is convoluted, but adding it as a medical practice adds whole new levels of complications, such as licensure of providers, malpractice insurance.

Additionally, living on the state line raises more hurdles, some funding is for Missouri only, others for Kansas only, some services only for one state or the other.

Having partnerships with major medical providers is a huge struggle and one we continually working on to help provide further services to our patient population.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a family nurse practitioner who is known for my founding of Care Beyond the Boulevard. I have a deep compassion for others and work to create equity in healthcare and break the traditional boundaries of health care services, working to help patients by taking care directly to where they live and frequent.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
HAHA, I was very talkative, friendly, very active in school, but also very social I played some sports in my early life (middle school and early high school), I was a twirler in the marching band.

I had a job from the time I was young, starting as a babysitter, working at the local drive in and theater, I worked as a DJ all through high school at our local AM radio station in addition to working at the local Pizza Hut.

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