Editorial

For the second year in a row, the Good Samaritan Clinic has had to cancel its annual fundraiser due to the coronavirus. This is especially unfortunate as the Caring for Cullman Concert generated 11% of the clinic’s funding the last time it was held in 2019. Since then, the need for Good Samaritan services for residents has increased.

The Good Samaritan Clinic provides primary medical care, as well as other basic treatment referrals (such as dental and, now, mental health) for qualifying local residents who because of financial hardships cannot afford health insurance. It’s not difficult to qualify for clinic services. An uninsured individual making $32,200 or less per year can use the clinic services. An uninsured family of four with an income less than $66,250 also qualifies for clinic services.

The clinic planned on using the funds raised from this year’s concert towards its relatively new partnership with the Steven K. Griffith Memorial Fund and Haven Counseling Services which provides mental health services to Good Samaritan patients. Prior to the pandemic, mental health services were already greatly needed, and since then, the need has only grown.

Clinic Director Jolanda Hutson, in an interview with The Times when the service was announced, noted that seeking mental care is often a daunting obstacle — particularly for those whose finances otherwise might not allow it. But the clinic is making every effort, she added, to make that first step possible — not only by referring patients to a cost-free local service, but also by guiding reluctant applicants through the process.

“It’s a big concern that a service like this one reaches the people who really need it,” she said. “We’re hoping to address that, and to be able to identify those who are in need, by offering assistance to anyone who needs help even in approaching us and filling out the application. If you need help getting started, call our clinic and request an appointment, and we will provide volunteers who will help you through the process. We want to break down any and all barriers to accessing care for mental health.”

Adding mental health services is just one more way the Good Samaritan is living up to its name and mission.

Here are just a few things the clinic provided to the people of Cullman County in 2020:

Provided priority access to receive COVID vaccinations;

Provided basic health screenings for incoming kindergarten students;

Served 2,183 in-patient visits;

Accepted 168 new patients;

Referred 353 patients to specialists;

Dispensed 13,663 prescriptions having a retail value of $3.9 million;

Delivered direct patient services valued at $5.6 million.

It’s important to note that 32% of the clinic’s funding comes from grants, which often require some matching funds. That’s why donations from the community are so important: for every dollar you give, the clinic could receive an additional dollar.

Cullman Savings Bank has been a faithful donor to the clinic, and last week donated $5,000 for the Caring for Cullman Concert. We encourage other businesses and individuals to also give to this worthy cause.

There may not be a Caring for Cullman Concert again this year, but the need is still there, and Cullman can show how much it cares.

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