More seek help at free medical clinic

Tue, 02/17/2009 - 5:03pm
By: John Munford

As Fayette CARE Clinic gears up for its annual fund-raiser dance on Saturday, March 7, there is a growing need for financial support due to the downturn in the economy, organizers said.

Director Sheryl Watford said the numbers of new patients applying for help have almost doubled in recent months as many local residents have lost their jobs and their medical insurance. The clinic provides free medical, dental and vision care for uninsured residents of Fayette County only.

Previously the clinic would process about 10 new patient applications a week. That number now ranges between 15 and 20 a week, Watford said.

Patients must meet income guidelines and may not be served by any type of insurance. Once they are approved, the clinic serves the entire family, Watford said. Although children whose parents lose insurance are typically covered by PeachCare for Kids, the CARE Clinic steps in to provide treatment for the children until the PeachCare support kicks in, Watford said.

Because of the overwhelming need, it is taking longer to get new patients scheduled for their first visit at the clinic, which is open Tuesday nights and during the day on Wednesdays, in addition to other special scheduled days.

The “Dancing With Stars” dinner, dance and auction is the clinic’s main fund-raiser of the year. It is hosted at Glendalough Manor in Tyrone, which is providing the location, dinner and open bar. The reception begins at 7 p.m. with the buffet and dancing starting at 8 p.m., followed by a live auction at 9 p.m.

Tickets to the event are $100 each and can be purchased by contacting the clinic at 770-487-4778 or downloading the invitation at and mailing it in.

Glendalough is a platinum sponsor along with gold sponsors Georgia Power and Bank of North Georgia; silver sponsors are The Southern Federal Credit Union and OutPatient Imaging.

The clinic is staffed by volunteer medical and lay personnel, and more such volunteers are needed to meet the heavy demand, Watford said. If more doctors could volunteer, the clinic would be able to open up another night or two during the week, she added.

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