“We really like it,” she said. “For a trailer, it’s really nice — so sturdy and spacious. We’re very pleased.”
She said the clinic had high expectations for the new trailer, but those expectations have been exceeded.
The idea of adding a new trailer, which sits next to the clinic’s existing facility on 10th Street, goes back quite a way.
“The organization has been focused on trying to expand for a few years,” Steele said.
However, different things have interfered and the expansion did not occur until recently. This year, one of the two nurse-practitioner positions at the clinic was upgraded to a full-time job, enabling the clinic to see more people.
“There’s just a need in the community for this kind of service,” Steele said.
She said many people lack health insurance and the economic downturn has left many unemployed. Even those who do have health insurance have been faced with rising medical costs.
“You don’t even have to be below poverty level for it — medical care and or health insurance — to be cost-prohibitive,” she said.
The clinic has also hired an additional nurse to help deal with the increase in patients. The increase in patients has led to increasing demands on space.
“We don’t have the space in this building to see that many people when they’re both here,” Steele said, referring to both the nurse-practitioners.
She said the trailer will feature three exam rooms, bathrooms, a laboratory, an office for herself and a nurse’s station. She believes the trailer will be open for business at the end of next week. The plumbing and electrical work have already been completed — all that remains to be completed are the phone and computer cables, which will be installed over the weekend.
Several people donated time and material to erect the new facility. Two examination tables had been donated before Steele became executive director and one was donated later from a doctor’s office outside Griffin. Thomas Custer, a local upholsterer, will upholster the tables. Ralph Jones helped install the building and its plumbing and electrical systems, while Mark Staples and Charles Hammock of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter helped build a ramp.
Teresa Wright, a medical assistant and pharmacy tech, works at the clinic.
“We had two nurse-practitioners in only two rooms available for use,” she said. “The wait was very lengthy.”
She said the clinic is helping to save lives — uninsured diabetics could slip into a coma and those with high blood pressure could have strokes.
Steele said with the additional space, the clinic can see 16 new patients per week, in addition to those who are already regulars.
The Hope Health Clinic serves those who lack health insurance — Medicaid, Medicare or private — and who live in Spalding County. Those interested in finding out more can contact the clinic at 770-412-1053.