Valdosta Daily Times


June 15, 2014

Peach City Walk-In Clinic brings primary care to Morven

MORVEN — Myron Faircloth’s life philosophy — and by extension, the philosophy of Peach City Walk-In Clinic — can best be summed up in his own words.

“I don’t think there’s anything greater you can do in life than to help out your fellow person, your fellow man, your hometown community,” said Faircloth.

Raised in the Morven area for most of his life, Faircloth, who works in Valdosta as part of G&G Family Medicine, was approached by hometown friends in recent months about opening a general-practice clinic in this Brooks County town.

Known for its peach trees which outnumber its population of roughly 550, Morven was one of many rural areas throughout the country lacking local primary care. The Association of American Medical Colleges forecasts that by 2020, there will be 45,000 too few primary-care doctors, with demand far outstripping supply.

“It wasn’t done to make money. It wasn’t done to get rich,” said Faircloth. “It was a town that was lacking providers. With lack of access to health care, health disparity increases, and mortality and morbidity rates go up.”

Faircloth was interested, but wasn’t sure about the logistics, of finding the right location and turning it into a doctor’s office.

That’s where the town of Morven intervened.

Dan and Jackie McLeod, owners of Morven seafood restaurant Pike’s Landing, offered a building in the center of Morven.

Once housing Morven’s first post office back in the 19th century, this building would take some work to ready as a doctor’s office, but Morven residents offered to help, cleaning the place and putting up walls. Coombs Heating and Air Conditioning installed the air-conditioning unit at no cost.

Along the way, Faircloth pitched the clinic to G&G Family Medicine’s doctors, Vera Cecilia Garcia and Alberto Garcia. Both were intrigued.

Faircloth wanted to run the clinic on a flat $50 fee per visit, with a small extra charge for any necessary supplies or medications, like stitches, for example.

This no-insurance approach would reduce time spent on paperwork and the computer, leaving the Garcias and Faircloth more time to spend face to face with patients.

“It is frustrating to practice medicine in the medical system the way it is right now,” said Vera Cecilia Garcia. “Right now, everybody tells you what to do as a physician without thinking about the patient.”

“Spending more time with your patient, educating your patient, helping them understand the disease and complications associated with it is much better than sitting and dealing with all kinds of forms and paperwork,” said Faircloth.

It’s a bit of a paradox: to move forward, Faircloth and the Garcias have gone back to basics.

The Morven community supports the approach. The community not only attended Peach City Walk-In Clinic’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, people offered to help.

In the future, Faircloth would like to see specialists coming once a month at a reduced cost: dermatologists, podiatrists, etc.

An assistant professor of nursing at Valdosta State University, Faircloth would like to see the clinic partner with VSU, offering a place for nursing, marriage and family counseling and exercise physiology students to train.

The clinic’s hours are limited right now to 3-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, but more hours may be added at a later date.

“As it builds up and we see the need for additional hours, we’ll find help,” said Faircloth.

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