By Kyra Purvis,
Those living in Calhoun County, Alabama have received increased access to affordable health care.
The St. Michael’s Medical Clinic has been expanded and is now the Dr. David Satcher and St. Michael’s Medical Clinic and Community Learning Center. The expansion comes from investments made by the city of Anniston and Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center (RMC) Health Systems.
The new clinic opened its doors to the public on November 6 at its new location on Mulberry Avenue.
The clinic is categorized as a free and charitable clinic, meaning all services are offered at no cost to the patient. The clinic can provide treatment for acute and chronic illnesses. A patient can also be connected with a specialist for more severe illnesses.
The expansion has provided more space for these services. The clinic will also be moving from a three-day to four-day operating schedule.
Clinic director Nanette Mudiam says this will allow for an extra 300 to 500 new patients to receive needed primary care each year.
“The point of a clinic in a community is to provide primary care. And primary care is the most efficient use of healthcare dollars. It means we’re treating disease and illness before its cost is elevated by complications. So, if we treat diabetes in the community and manage to keep that sugar under control, then we may not have the more detrimental effects by uncontrolled diabetes that the hospital would encounter,” said Mudiam.
A patient must be uninsured and living on low income to become a patient at this clinic. The clinic will start its extended operational week of Tuesday to Friday on December 1st.
The building will also serve as a community learning center. This space will feature computers, free Wi-Fi access, and community events.
Mudiam expects the space to also be used to address the mental health needs of the community.
“Most of our patients have mental health diagnosis and we know that vulnerable communities are not getting the kinds of access to particularly therapy, group therapy and talk therapy, that we think that they should have,” said Mudiam.
The community center is expected to provide those kinds of services to the community. It will be open to the public by 2024.