Health clinic gets a grant for diabetes management program

Renee Blackburn (from left), executive director of Faith & Deeds Healthcare; Amy Turner, director of philanthropy with the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance; Dr. P.J. Lynn; and Dr. Leonard Reeves, president of the Faith & Deeds Healthcare, hold a grant check from the Alliance to the clinic for a diabetes management program.

Leadership of Rome's Faith & Deeds Healthcare, formerly known as the Free Clinic, 101 John Maddox Drive, received a grant of $4,983.50 from the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance during the Rome Rotary program Thursday. The funding will be used to enhance a Log It, Learn It, Let's Stay healthy program aimed primarily at residents with chronic diabetes.

Amy Turner, the director of philanthropy for the Alliance, said the agency funds a variety of community health programs across the state every year.

"We try to focus on preventive care," Turner said. Grants that will be doled out this year are expected to amount to nearly $100,000, a 40-percent increase over last year.

Dr. Leonard Reeves, president of the Faith & Deeds Healthcare board, said the clinic has between 550 and 600 regular patients and a waiting list that is three pages, typed, long. Reeves told the Rotary group that as much as 17 percent of the community in Rome and Floyd County don't get regular healthcare.

Renee Blackburn, executive director of the clinic, told the civic group that the grant would enable the clinic to provide people who don't have health insurance with glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors and log books to keep track of daily measurements.

"It has been a benefit to the patients and it has been a benefit to the doctors alike," Blackburn said. "With more accurate information the volunteer doctors are able to provide more accurate treatment."

Turner said the Alliance, which is the foundation arm of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, has just started a capital campaign to raise additional funds to be able to provide even more community health grants across the state in the future. The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians made a $1 million contribution to start the campaign and the Alliance has already raised another $400,000 and is seeking to raise another $3 million.

Reeves said the earlier communities can diagnose and start treatment programs for people with chronic diseases, the easier it is to prevent more serious complications which in turn make the individuals more productive and ultimately saves the state money.