It’s been just over a year since members of Grace Presbyterian Church first started discussing the need for a free medical clinic in Dawsonville.
After months of planning, raising funds and going through the necessary hurdles associated with establishing a nonprofit organization, the Good Shepherd Clinic is scheduled to receive its first patients on Monday.
Set up in the church’s basement in rooms adjacent to a soup kitchen open Wednesdays and Saturdays for lunch, the clinic will serve adults living or working in Dawson County whose income falls 200 percent below the poverty level.
For example, adults in a family of four with an annual income of about $22,000 would be eligible to receive assistance if they had no other forms of medical insurance.
Patients must pre-qualify for assistance on Thursdays from noon - 4 p.m. with proof of income at the church, which is located at 170 Hwy. 9 North in downtown Dawsonville.
The clinic has arranged for a family practice physician to see patients with chronic ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart issues on Monday afternoons and a gynecologist to treat women one evening each week, according to Mark Weaver, the church’s pastor.
Other ailments could be treated.
“If someone is in our system and they have strep throat and it works out for them to be seen on that day, we’ll see them,” said Weaver, who added the clinic encourages parents to apply for PeachCare for their children’s healthcare needs.
“We’re trying really to focus on adults,” he said.
Funded almost entirely on private donations, the clinic is an extension of the church’s mission to reach needs in the community.
As the clinic grows, volunteers hope to open the clinic additional days.
“Our intention is two fold, one to outgrow our facility, and then also to have more doctors involved and to be open more,” Weaver said.
Similar clinics in Hall and Pickens counties are open five days a week.
“They (clinics in other counties) also had to start somewhere. This is our start,” he said.
For more information, call (706) 429-9914.