Finally a permanent medical clinic to serve all uninsured

Published 8:12 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rural Health Medical Program opened its doors Monday at a ribbon cutting ceremony, but the struggle to open the new clinic has gone on for several years.

When CEO Robert Jackson and his staff tried to open a clinic because their administrative offices have always been in Selma, they were denied.

They were told in order to open a clinic there had to be a low number of doctors and Selma already had enough.

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Finally, they realized the number of those who were under served medically in the community. When the U.S. military came the summer, Jackson said his staff members drove him to the armory to show him the patients wrapped around the building, all in need of free medical treatment.

At that event, dentists pulled hundreds of teeth and corrected all kinds of optical lenses. The bottom line of events such as the military medical trip is that Selma is in desperate need of an organization and clinic that will treat everyone with or without the financial stability to do so.

What makes this need even more apparent is the recent statistics from a national study that showed Dallas County ranking among the worst in the state for health. Dallas County was ranked 60th of 67 counties.

The study reported 16 percent of residents were uninsured medically and 50 percent of our children are living below the poverty line.

Jackson told those at the clinic Monday there was a survey done of African American males in west Alabama, and of those males the majority had a fear of getting tested for things like prostate cancer because of fear of the exam itself, lingering fears from syphilis experimental testing at Tuskegee and fear that Caucasian or Asian doctors will not treat them the same.

“We have a lot of notion and perceptions and beliefs that we have to deal with that are making our patients very complex,” Jackson said.

We are thankful that people and organizations came together to make this new Rural Health Medical Clinic a reality in our community to serve those who are with or without insurance. It will serve the community patient-by-patient on a personal level.

It is smart that the clinic will also be engaging the community by educating residents about preventative care so that they will see less and less patients due to poor nutrition.

As Jackson and Sheryl Smedley with the Selma Dallas County Chamber of Commerce said Monday, there is now no excuse for any residents in the area, even the homeless, to go without medical attention.

Finally an answer has come to the question of how to help the great medical need in our area.