FORT VALLEY -- The Feed Center churchs free medical clinic is regularly serving more than 780 patients, but its capacity to serve has doubled with a remodel and the addition of two new exam rooms.
That gives the charitable free clinic four exam rooms to serve those in need in the Fort Valley community, plus those who come from Byron and other parts of Peach and seven other midstate counties.
The Feed Center held an open house June 10 to show off the new facility.
We started The Feed Center in 2005 and began the clinic four years ago, said Al Sanders, director and pastor of the Feed Center Outreach Ministries. Its unbelievable how the clinic has taken on such a new face and direction and grown so in such a short period of time. At one point we were saying, God, how are you going to do this? How are you going to meet the need? But beyond what we can do weve seen him do more than we expected.
Sanders said the clinic depends day by day and week by week on Gods faithfulness and the charitable donations of people to meet the need for free medical care.
He said with Peach Countys hospital moving out of Fort Valley near Interstate 75 on the Ga. 247 Connector, he knew there would be an increase in the need for care and for Gods provision.
I guess it costs about $75 to $100 to treat a person per visit, Sanders said. If you include lab work and other services we provide, it easily gets up higher to more like $175 or $200. To consider that and the fact weve been able to add two exam rooms is just amazing.
Sanders said the two additional rooms and other factors have allowed the clinic to reduce its current waiting list of potential patients from 70 to 10.
Other factors definitely include Dr. George Shoup, Dr. Adams and the other doctors who volunteer, Sanders said. We couldnt do what we do without them and all the volunteers who keep the clinic operating and operating so well. Another factor has been the help of the Fort Valley Utility Commission. Theyve helped in many ways including donating a 15-passenger van with a wheelchair lift. Transportation is a big factor for many of our patients.
One such patient is Claudette Umoessien of Byron who discovered she was ill four years ago while employed. Two years ago she was left without medical care and had nowhere to turn for diabetes treatment and drugs or care for other ailments. All she could see was an already high medical debt mounting higher and higher.
These people really stepped up and are a godsend for me, she said. I can pay $2 for transportation that Peach County offers from Byron and get here for treatment. And they really care about you. Youre not just being shuffled through. You can tell they love God and love people. Even if I miss an appointment, they give me a call to check on me and see how Im doing.
The stated goal of the Feed Center Free Medical Clinic is to provide free medical care to working uninsured patients. Primary care doctors, nurses, technicians and administrative personnel volunteer their time while the clinic depends on donated funds to offer quality, compassionate medical services to those with no other resources for health care.
The clinic qualifies new patients on Wednesdays and sees patients by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays. New patients must present information such as picture ID, Social Security card, proof of income, proof of residency, utility bill, previous years tax return, current medications, potential insurance and Medicaid and Medicare coverage and food stamp information.
Ive lived here all my life and I know people who need this and use it, said Dollie Horton, a member at the Feed Center church, volunteer at the clinic and chairman of the Fort Valley Utility Commission. The Feed Center operates it, but its something the community has rallied around. Thats so great to see. Its necessary. With the additional space weve been able to expand the clinic from just evenings to during the day, and thats important to a lot of people we serve. Its such a blessing and such a thrill to see people helping people like this. I know God is pleased.
For Sanders, its just more cause to be confident in God.
Its mind-blowing to see what hes doing, he said. His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. Theyre a whole lot bigger than we could ever imagine.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.