2013 was a very busy year for the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett. We entered 2013 predicting to provide 7,000 medical appointments, but instead delivered more than 10, 000 appointments to the uninsured of Gwinnett County and surrounding areas. We provided affordable primary care services to 6,419 individuals last year, 1,937 who had never been seen at the Center before. These numbers mark a significant increase in demand for our services in contrast to 2011 when we provided only 3,139 patient visits. Overall, we have experienced a 223% increase in our charitable activities during the past 24 months. It is clear to us the healthcare needs of the poor and uninsured are growing, not diminishing.
Other 2013 accomplishments:
- We were able to provide 287 appointments valued at $80,360 for free or nearly free to the very poor.
- We mentored 261 students of various healthcare professions, raising up future medical missionaries to serve the poor and uninsured of our communities.
- We introduced a weekly reduced cost pediatric clinic for children who are not eligible for Medicaid and provided 183 appointments through that initiative.
- We introduced evening and weekend clinic hours to serve those unable to leave work for healthcare and provided 784 appointments through that initiative.
Since opening our doors in June 2005, Good Samaritan of Gwinnett has provided the community with more than 42,200 medical appointments. Today, most of our patients are middle-aged women earning less than $11,000 a year. We estimate the value of our services rendered last year at $2.8 million, but spent only $857,500 to provide that much care. If not for the generous contribution of time by our many volunteers, we could not operate this organization at such low cost. We were blessed with the volunteer labor of 347 individuals during 2013, who gave a combined 14,584 hours of service, saving us more than $400,000 in salaries.
All this activity has strained the limits of our aging Club Drive facility. We have twenty-seven parking spaces to accommodate about seventy-five patient, volunteer and staff cars throughout the day. Sometimes it looks like bumper cars out there with several drivers competing for a single open space. The interior is crowded too. Patients often stand in the foyer while waiting for someone to vacate a seat in the waiting room, and volunteers collide with staff as they quickly move about the building carrying charts and supplies. What we fear is just how busy we will be in 2014. We continue to believe the Affordable Care Act will not reduce demand for our services, but instead will very likely increase demand. In addition, we expect to see a new kind of patient turn to us this year, one with insurance but the inability to pay a deductible of $5,000 or more. We have that to plan for, in addition to the other great need in our county, charity dental care.
Last summer, we announced a plan to relocate to a larger facility in order to provide more healthcare services and open the county’s only full-time charity dental practice. Today we have $475,000 in cash and pledges earmarked for that purpose. This is a great start in our fundraising campaign, but we have a long way to go. We initially believed we needed $3.2 million to make this move, but we’ve revised that estimate to $5 million. It turns out land for adequate parking and dental equipment is much more expensive than we thought. We need your help now to make this new vision move closer to becoming a reality. Please give to this important cause.
We are hosting a Town Hall meeting on January 22nd at Sonesta Gwinnett Place, 4:00PM-6:00PM, to discuss our community needs assessment, relocation plan and funding needs. The public is invited to attend. To register, please email me at email@example.com.
I hope to see you on the 22nd, and I hope we can count on you to support us in 2014.