For the First Time, a Healthcare Clinic in Pratt City

Jun 20, 2024 at 07:10 pm by kbarrettalley

(L to R): Rachael Lindmark, NP; Loretta Erskine; Elaine Colby, MD outside the clinic building.
(L to R): Rachael Lindmark, NP; Loretta Erskine; Elaine Colby, MD outside the clinic building.

Clinic is part of a multi-use community facility

 

By Steve Spencer

 

When Elaine Colby, MD first attended The MoveMent Fellowship Church (TMFC) for her medical receptionist’s baptism, she was inspired. “I was so welcomed and bowled over by the service that I knew this was a relationship I wanted to pursue,” she said.

That relationship has been a factor in leading to the May opening of MoveMent C.A.R.E. (Comprehensive Aide Reaching Everyone), the first health center in a community, Pratt City, that’s been described as a healthcare desert. “I’m 53 years old and I’ve never heard of a healthcare facility here,” said Kris Erskine, who serves as Senior Pastor of The MoveMent Fellowship Church (TMFC.)

The first step in turning Erskine’s vision into reality came earlier this year when TMFC was able to buy the G.W. Scott School building from the city of Birmingham. The abandoned school, which sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 78 and Hibernian Street, was built in 1891. The city originally wanted $475,000 but because the building, vacant for 25 years, was in desperate need of repair with busted windows, debris, and overgrown vine, the parties settled on a price of $25,000. Funding for the project has come from philanthropists, government officials, as well as county, city and state funding.

MoveMent C.A.R.E., the health clinic, is part of what will be a multi-use community resource facility that will include senior living, a school for children and adults who want to pursue life-long learning, as well as a credit union, all on the ten-acre campus.

“One of the major four components that we believe every community needs is education, economics, housing, and health care,” Erskine said. “This project is exciting for the entire community because it’s something the community needs. We went to all our neighborhood residents and we asked them what they wanted to see, rather than just create something and make people feel obligated to use it. Healthcare was at the top.”

The MoveMent C.A.R.E. clinic will operate with a Direct Primary Care (DPC) model, which is also what Colby is using in her newly-formed private practice, Dalton Health. After a number of years providing care in the standard insurance-driven practices, Colby longed to see patients in an unhurried fashion where she could spend more time understanding their needs and providing comprehensive care. This led her to the Direct Primary Care (DPC) model. DPC patients pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to primary care services, including check-ups, preventive care, and chronic disease management. The idea is a personalized healthcare model which enables the doctor to prioritize preventative care.

At this early stage, the MoveMent leaders are working on two options for the clinic: the DPC model where members pay a monthly fee for unlimited access, along with a low-cost model in which patients pay a small fee, probably around $25, for a single visit, and if the patient can’t pay that, the bill will be paid by the MoveMent Foundation which is funded through donations and grants.

“One of the most exciting things about this is to be able to provide high-quality, accessible care with the low-cost payment model,” Colby said. “And in addition to comprehensive primary care, we’re going to educate people on chronic disease management and improving quality of life.”

Colby also looks forward to possibly creating partnerships with some of the health profession training programs in town. In her career, she has precepted nursing students from a number of schools, including Troy, UAB, and Stamford. She hopes to be able to work with some schools to provide nursing preceptorships at the MoveMent C.A.R.E. clinic.

Initially, the clinic will be open one day a week, eventually expanding to full-time as the demand rises. Colby can’t wait to see this happen. “I have been called by a higher power to create exactly this type of community health clinic,” she said.




June 2024

Jun 20, 2024 at 07:14 pm by kbarrettalley

Your May 2024 Issue of Birmingham Medical News is Here!