In the small town of Cleveland, Georgia, our partner, Community Helping Hands Clinic (CHHC), provides residents of the surrounding White County who meet low-income requirements and who do not have health insurance are seen at no charge by medical professionals who treat them for a variety of commonly diagnosed chronic illnesses.
Thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®, last year we were able to provide CHHC with grant funding to assist them in that mission in an area where, according to executive director, Gene White, “The demand for medical services for uninsured White County residents has been increasing.”
In total, Gene reported in December that from January through November, 172 patients were seen at the clinic and treated for illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery disease (CAD) and arthritis.
In some cases, patients were referred to specialists for additional appropriate free care, including dental and vision services. In addition, access to low-cost medications and prescription assistance programs, as well as free diabetic supplies, are among other benefits offered to clinic patients.
Gene pointed out that there is severe shortage of physicians in the area where there is just one primary care physician for every 4,130 residents in the county, which is more than 2 ½ times the Georgia state figure of 1,520 – and more than 10 times the national average of 435 residents per physician.
That means, in White County, with a population of 27,144 according to the 2010 census, there are less than seven primary care physicians to provide healthcare for every child, woman and man living there.
“These facts mean that there are many more people in need of the Community Helping Hands Clinic’s services than are currently being served,” Gene reported. “The goal of this project is to continue to meet this need to provide health care for the indigent uninsured even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruption.”
Gene explained why the clinic is desperately needed in the community saying, “Chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, asthma, and obesity are epidemic in our society. People with these problems require frequent medical attention, at least until their conditions are under control. Even patients with controlled conditions require more frequent monitoring than healthy people.
“Without a free clinic, White County residents with chronic ailments and without health insurance or the financial resources to cover the high cost of medical care would have to seek routine care at the emergency department of hospitals in adjoining counties or do without care.”
And to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® who enable us to provide financial assistance to CHHC to carry out its worthy mission, Gene wants them to know:
“The support provided by Americans Helping Americans® is critical to enabling Community Helping Hands Clinic to continue to provide free health care to residents who would otherwise likely go without primary healthcare.”