Beersheba Clinic - WSMV Channel 4

Beersheba Clinic

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Nestled along I-24 between Chattanooga and Nashville, you'll find the beautiful mountains of Grundy County, a picture perfect scene from mother nature.

But look beneath the surface and you'll find an area on life support when it comes to health care.

A recent national study ranks Grundy County as the unhealthiest county in the state.

So just how desperate is the need for good medical care here in Grundy County well keep this in mind, we're told there are only two full time physicians for the county's population of 14,500 people and the nearest hospital 25 miles away from this area.

Dr. Garrett Adams, Beersheba Medical Clinic says "Here in Grundy County we see the worse extreme of the failure of this county to accept the fact that health care is a right for everyone.

So nearly three years ago, with the help of donors, Dr. Adams opened the Beersheba Medical Clinic. A place where no one is asked for insurance,.. or if they can pay.

Robin Hamilton, Patient says "I needed some medical and I didn't have no insurance and I came down here and they do everything in the world to help you."

Robin hadn't been to the doctor in several years. Without this clinic, Robin and so many like her would have no where else to turn when it comes to their health.

Robin Hamilton says "I guess I wouldn't go to the doctor, more than likely not."

The waiting room is always full at the clinic. It's open three days a week, and unfortunately, it's one of the busiest places in this rural community.

Tonya Garner, Health Educator says "it's all about behavioral change and that's the hardest thing you can try to do is to change someone's behavior once they've been doing it for so long."

Tonya Garner went on to say "40% is the socioeconomic status which is because of jobs, unemployment rate."

Nearly 10 percent of the population is out of work.

Dr. Garrett Adams says "With an average income of around 25,000 in Grundy County they have to choose between going to the grocery store and getting a little bit of good or getting medicine."

Dr. Adams travels from Kentucky once a month. He says obesity, diabetes and hypertension are some of the biggest problems they see at the clinic. He says while they do have a jar for donations, the only thing patients are asked to pay is 20 dollars for their lab work. That is, if they can.

And when it comes to that health ranking, keep this in mind.

Beth Delaney, Southeast Regional Health Office says "The health rankings are in a state with an overall health ranking of 39.

Which says the entire state of Tennessee has more work to do. Meanwhile Grundy county officials are working to turn things around. The health department has gotten a grant to fight diabetes and chronic conditions, and they're teaching residents how to eat better on a budget and stay active.

 Dr Adams says "I know that there are people that have a better life because we've been able to help them."

(ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

For more information or to support the clinic

www.beershebaclinic.org

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