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Comfort Givers' Fundraiser:

Good Samaritan Medical Center

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THE STORY:

We are writing to draw your attention to a matter of great importance! Alabama’s Black Belt counties are facing a crisis when it comes to healthcare access. Eighteen counties stretch across the middle of Alabama in what is known as the Black Belt, an area with high rates of poverty. Due to a lack of doctors, many rural areas in Alabama do not have convenient access to health care. The number and geographic distribution of hospitals in Alabama is problematic. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama has 34 counties that have only 1 hospital and 8 counties have no hospitals at all. Dallas County has only one hospital in the Queen City of Selma to serve over 100,000 people since two adjacent counties; Perry and Lowndes counties don’t have any medical facilities. Mayor George P. Evans has pledged to address this dangerous condition of healthcare shortage surrounding Selma, Alabama. However, due to last year's extensive funding shortage, city coffers are nearly empty, and the funds are not available to install even one new clinic or healthcare facility. The lack of access is at fault for dozens of grade school children who missed their immunizations shots. Alabama is now maintaining the second highest death rate for children under 20 years old in the United States, and between 2010 and 2012, infant mortality was at a rate of 8.6 deaths per 1,000 births across Alabama, roughly double the national average. Some long-standing rural health issues include limited access to medical and health care services, low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and a lack of incentives for health professionals to practice in rural areas. Other issues can complicate rural patterns of access to health care, such as lack of personal transportation; low education levels; no or limited facilities; no or inadequate insurance; a decreasing number of primary care providers; poor availability of care to women, children, and minorities; and a lack of care for transient populations, such as migrant and seasonal workers. Change is over due to enhance Alabama’s poverty and health crisis. 40 years ago Selma did shoulder the weight load and met the health needs of the Community. The Good Samaritan Hospital provided healthcare, and other services, to the residents of Selma and the surrounding rural areas. In fact to obtain trained nurses, Sister Louis Bertrand established Alabama’s first School of Practical Nursing; making the Good Samaritan the first nursing school to train African Americans. The facility caught the attention of the nation when Civil Right Marcher were brutally attacked marching from Selma to Montgomery at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. It was at Good Sam, as the hospital was locally known as, that the injured were treated around the clock by doctors, nurses, sisters, even dentists who were called in to help sew up wounds. Among the injured was; now Congressman John Lewis who suffered a skull fracture, and was one of fifty-eight people treated for injuries at the Good Samaritan hospital. The day is remembered in history as “Bloody Sunday.” The Good Samaritan was the only hospital for 9 counties that would treat African American patients. Today in 2016 we plan on continuing the legacy by reopening the facility as a State of the art full Multispecialty Medical Center. We strongly believe that this project will be a tremendous benefit to the people of Selma, Dallas County and surrounding area now and in the future. We are committed to providing patients and families with better, more collaborative care for all of their medical needs. Our researchers are discovering what’s next in medicine, and our physicians and care teams are putting that research to use to improve the health of the community today. Good Samaritan Medical Center is a private, non-profit health care organization providing comprehensive, high quality, multispecialty and preventive healthcare to the medically, underserved populations of the Black Belt Community. We are the Good Samaritan Medical Center a 501(c)3 not-for-profits, and all-for-people health care organization comprised of motivated physicians, nurses, and former medical practice owners. Our vision is to improve the lives of the Alabama Black Belt Community, who often find themselves forgotten and neglected by society. Our approach keeps people in our minds and at the heart of everything we do. We treat each person as a person, not as a patient, an illness or an appointment. We collaborate with other physicians and community partners to bring medical service and resources to the Black Belt using service-learning activities to educate the people on issues in the community’s as well as treating their medical needs. The Good Samaritan Medical Center seeks to provide quality healthcare to everyone in the Alabama Black Belt community, believing firmly that all people deserve to have access to health services. We will be unique among other medical centers in that we strive to partner with pharmaceutical companies and medical supply companies to donate medicines and medical supplies to the communities in which we work. In addition, our overarching mission is to move impoverished communities from crisis management to sustainable solutions with regards to health care. Our organization will not only give financial assistance to patients, but we will also further our mission by providing educational health materials, supporting research on cancer, heart & kidney disease, advocating on behalf of patients, and funding free health screenings. In our efforts on making health care available to all Alabamians we implemented programs that will help achieve our goals. We focus on providing health care services in areas where there is limited access to such services, and education on nutrition, HIV and other health-related issues. We also offer support to patients who suffer from cancer (and other chronic diseases) get life-saving medication by helping qualified patients pay for the medication they need. According to our 2015 feasibility study, over 50,000 Alabama residents live in the four (4) rural Black Belt counties that boards Dallas County. Perry, Hale, Lowndes, and Wilcox, are adjacent and rely on Selma traveling 45 minutes to an hour for aid. We plan to purchase two (2) mobile medical buses; to start care immediately one of which will be a dental clinic. The buses will make circuits through each county once each month, and remain at each location for one week to conduct routine exams, screenings, vaccinations, treatments and medication for basic medical and dental problems. A single grain of sand can tip the scale. Even just one kind soul can indeed make a difference. Be the grain that tips the scale towards the alleviation of poverty/healthcare in rural Alabama. The Good Samaritan Medical Center can only achieve its goals with the assistance of generous donations from supporters like you. Without these donations, serving those in dire need of medical and dental help would not be possible. Since our organization relies on the generosity of individuals like you, we write to ask you to consider a donation to our cause. We are counting on your support and promise that we will not be telephoning you, but we do hope that you will respond positively to our written request. Remember that your gift will be tax-deductible! We have enclosed a donor envelope for your convenience. Remember that every donation makes a difference, regardless of size.

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