Mercer University School of Medicine opened its first rural clinic and has also recruited from the region.
Not having access to a medical facility during a pandemic can be a nightmare. Former US president Jimmy Carter helped deliver a medical facility in his hometown in Georgia. The town's medical facility had been shut down for four months, leaving the town of Plains without a local healthcare provider, reported WABE. Jimmy Carter might be over 90 years old but he still fights for his hometown. The former president rallied representatives of the Mercer University School of Medicine and had them open a new clinic in Plains. It is also the first rural clinic that's managed by the university.
Dr. Jean Sumner, who is the dean of the School of Medicine, said Carter had pushed for a facility in his hometown. Sumner revealed that Carter, a Mercer Trustee, was “was very involved’’ and “he opened the door” for the entire operation. The former president had called the university president and talked about the need for health care in the town. He and his wife, Rosalynn, had also met with representatives of Mercer and Waycross-based Global Partnership for Telehealth, the company supplying telehealth services at the clinic.
Sumner said the main aim of the clinic “is to bring quality primary care services to rural Georgia. We don’t need to rescue rural Georgia. We want to help rural Georgia rescue themselves.” The Mercer University School of Medicine has recruited local physicians and nurse practitioners for the Mercer Medicine Plains clinic. The facility offers comprehensive primary care services as well as specialty care and mental health services through both in-person and telehealth consultation. On-site services will include primary care, internal medicine, OB/GYN, marriage and family therapy and counseling, lab, and X-ray. The facility will also provide additional access to cardiologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists, and all other specialists that are offered at Mercer Medicine in Macon. The Plains clinic is set up in a refurbished building.
“There is no more challenging profession than that of a rural physician, but there is also no more meaningful role in all of the health care,” said Dr. Sumner. “Mercer University School of Medicine only accepts Georgia residents, and all students recognize that our mission is rural and underserved Georgia. Our faculty, staff, and students take our commitment to that mission very seriously, and Mercer Medicine Plains is an excellent model of that mission at work.”
“Our goal in these clinics is to create a model that’s sustainable, not only individually, but that could be replicated and could be sustained across the state,” said Charles Duffey, chief operating officer of Mercer Medicine during the opening of the clinic in 2018, reported The Telegraph. “And really the best way we can do that is to remove the administrative burden from the physician, centralize it in our 27-provider practice in Macon, and allow them just to practice medicine. And I believe that we’ve done that effectively here.”
With the pandemic ravaging America, access to healthcare has become a matter of survival. More than 250,000 people have died from coronavirus in America, with Georgia accounting for more than 9,000 deaths. Earlier this year, Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter called on the American people to wear masks to help save lives. As we reported, the pair posted an image wearing masks on Twitter. Jimmy Carter, who was born in Plains and continues to live there, is a source of inspiration and pride for the farm country. Along with Rosalynn, Carter has helped build more than 4,000 homes over the span of 36 years they have been involved with Habitat for Humanity. He also regularly teaches Sunday School at the Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains.
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