The new Rural Health Medical clinic is open for patients of all types — whether they have medicaid, medicare or not. Even the homeless are welcome for medical treatment. Elected officials including Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Selma Mayor George Evans and others helped cut the ribbon. -- Ashley Johnson
The new Rural Health Medical clinic is open for patients of all types — whether they have medicaid, medicare or not. Even the homeless are welcome for medical treatment. Elected officials including Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Selma Mayor George Evans and others helped cut the ribbon. -- Ashley Johnson

Rural Health Medical Program cuts ribbon

Published 10:23pm Monday, April 1, 2013

It is no “April Fool’s” joke that as of Monday, every resident in the Selma, with or without Medicaid, can receive assistance at the new Rural Health Medical Program on Selma Avenue.

Elected officials and doctors alike cut the ribbon on the center and CEO Robert Jackson said the happiness he felt is hard to describe, explaining that its not a, “visual, bubbly kind of happiness, its more deep in your soul, like your soul is satisfied.”

Jackson and Chairman Thomas Moore both spoke at the opening about the tough, uphill obstacles they faced in getting to this point. Though Rural Health Medical Program administrative offices had been open in Selma, they could not open a clinic in town because of certain specifications.

“They looked at the city of Selma and said, ‘you already have a number of doctors there and you don’t need any more,’” Jackson explained, “But then they came back and realized that we had a large population that was under-served medically.”

The Selma and Dallas County area was then classified as an area with a healthcare provider shortage because even though there are doctors, there are not enough that care for a population that cannot afford care at all.

The new clinic with two doctors, Dr. Saima Kanwal and Dr. Rhett Krone, has no age requirement and doesn’t require for patients to be covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

The operation of the clinic will be two-fold, Moore told those that came to the opening. The clinic will have to educate those in the community just as much as they will have to prescribe medication and treat those with illnesses.

Probate Judge Kim Ballard said he felt there was a great need in the community for the clinic to be open.

“We have got something here that is much needed,” Ballard said.  “You are going to see it when you open those doors to the patients.”

Ballard said the patients don’t care about how much the doctor knows until they learn how much the doctor cares.

“And you have shown them you care by overcoming these financial obstacles to be here,” Ballard said.

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