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Clinic opens for Uninsured

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December 10, 2007

Albany - More than a million Georgians are uninsured. For many people, that means they never see a doctor until they are forced to go to the emergency room. One Albany church wants to change the way health care is administered and has opened a new Samaritan Clinic for those without insurance.

For many of us, the only thing worse than going to the doctor is getting the bill... but what if there were no charge for that visit? "People who come to this clinic won't have to pay a penny," said Pastor Daniel Simmons of Mt. Zion Church.  Simmons said he wanted to start up a free clinic for the uninsured, because of the desperate need in Albany. "I was keenly aware of the fact that there were a lot of people in our community that didn't have access to healthcare," said Simmons.  "A lot of people use the ER for office visits and thought we ought to be able to make an impact."

Mt. Zion partnered with Second Mt. Zion church, the Department of Community Health and asked Phoebe for a helping hand. "We had a meeting with Mr. Wernick, shared our idea. He thought it was a great idea and we asked for his help and everything we asked for he gave it to us and more."

Including the building. The Samaritan Clinic will be rented out for just $1 a year, plus Phoebe is paying for utilities.

Right now the exam rooms are pretty much empty, but in a few weeks they'll be stocked with supplies to help everyone from children to expectant moms.  Simmons said, "We'll offer every level of care. We've got OB/GYNS, we've got general practitioners, we're got Internists, we've got Urologists. We've got pediatricians, so at every level we have physicians here."

Sheila Eaddy said, "We've got a lot of work to do, but we see what we believe and we know we can get it done."

The clinic is expected to open the second weekend in January. To start, it will only be open on Saturdays, patients will be seen by appointment. The Samaritan Clinic will also help get prescription drugs to patients who can't afford them.

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