“We have to raise about $100,000 in private donations to make it through next year,” said Dick Morrow, vice chairman of the clinic’s board of directors, speaking on the issue to the Kiwanis Club of Griffin Wednesday.
The Hope Health Clinic is likewise looking for doctors, nurses and dentists who would like to volunteer at the facility, Morrow said.
Morrow, who addressed Kiwanis Club members with Hope Health Clinic Executive Director Harry Kierbow, also provided a brief history of the clinic.
When the Griffin-Spalding County Hospital was sold in 1987, the money went into a fund that has been managed by the Griffin-Spalding County Hospital Authority with the goal of improving the health care of Spalding County residents, he said.
In 1990, the Hope Health Clinic started out with doctors working during their lunch hours and nurses working on their days off. Ever since, the clinic has been serving the uninsured and working poor of the county — those who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance.
Before the recession began, about 14,000 people in Spalding County were uninsured, Morrow said, adding that the number is most likely higher today, as the Hope Health Clinic has seen about 13,500 patients in 2012 — 1,722 of them being new patients.
The services the Hope Health Clinic provides and the rather large number of patients it sees may lead some to falsely think of it as a government-run agency, Morrow said.
“This is a privately funded, charitable health clinic,” he said.
The Hospital Authority funds about 40 percent of the clinic’s needs, with other funding coming from grants, local businesses and individual sources.
And yet, the Hope Health Clinic provides a great value to the community, Morrow said, in that its total medical and dental savings amount to $8,234,000 — with an annual budget of approximately $1.9 million.