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Madamec8  (Level: 85.9 - Posts: 897)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 3:49 AM


You will definitely not hear this story on your nightly "news."

Part 1

HEALTH CARE: Doctors at Georgia clinic and elsewhere show the "difference between the American Dream and the Christian Dream" | Jamie Dean

AUGUSTA, Ga.—Grant Scarborough doesn't mind using a second-hand desk. The 37-year-old physician licensed in both internal and pediatric medicine could enjoy a far fancier set-up than the modest, Christian clinic he helps run in Augusta, Ga. But a Bible verse inscribed on a thank-you note hanging near Scarborough's donated office chair explains the physician's perspective: "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing."

Robert Campbell's used desk sits next to Scarborough's station in a small office space in the Christ Community Health Services of Augusta. In the shadow of a used car lot advertising deals for buyers with "good or bad credit," the clinic's one-story building is situated in one of Augusta's impoverished, inner-city neighborhoods. Like many of the crumbling houses nearby, bars cover the renovated clinic's blue-shuttered windows.

Campbell, 38, worked in a private practice for four years in nearby Evans, an affluent suburb, before opening a nonprofit clinic with Scarborough to offer affordable health care to uninsured and poor populations. In Evans, a patient visit with Campbell cost at least $123. On a sliding scale here in Augusta, a visit usually costs between $20 and $30. It's less if a patient can't afford it, and free for the homeless.

That's a boon for this corner of Georgia: A study by the Brookings Institution reported last year that metro Augusta had the second-highest rate of working poor out of 58 large metropolitan areas. The clinic's zip code also represents one of thousands of federally designated Medically Underserved Areas—regions where residents have a shortage of health-care services. Many of those areas represent counties with high poverty rates.

The Augusta clinic is one of thousands of nonprofit clinics for the poor or uninsured, and one of hundreds of low-cost clinics with a distinctly Christian mission. Leaning back in his chair before patients start filing into the clinic on a crisp spring morning, Scarborough explains that mission: "There's more to people than just a body. They come to us for a pill, and the best thing we can do is to help them see Christ."

A difficult economy may bring more patients: As unemployment increases and the ranks of the uninsured swell, nonprofit clinics are bracing for a new influx of patients. And while legislators hammer out complex details of a ballooning health-care plan, nonprofit clinics are sacrificially taking care of the needy and hoping more physicians will join them.

Steve Noblett is executive director of the Memphis-based Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF), a national network for Christian physicians and clinics serving underserved and poor populations. (The Augusta clinic is a CCHF member.)

Noblett says the organization includes between 1,500 and 2,000 professional health-care workers at some 200 to 300 different organizations across the country. Some efforts are small: Members include lone doctors who offer free health care a couple of nights a week. Others are huge: Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago handled some 140,000 patient visits last year alone.

Health problems often fester in low-income communities, particularly for children without prenatal or primary care. For example, Noblett says health-care workers in three zip codes in Memphis report a higher infant mortality rate than in some developing countries. A 2002 federal report said Memphis had the highest infant mortality rate in the country: fifteen infant deaths out of every 1,000 births, twice the national average.

For Christians, such statistics should be a pro-life concern, says Noblett: "We're talking about girls and young women that have chosen not to abort their children, and yet their kids die within the first year. There's something wrong with that."
Translating that concern into low-cost care for the uninsured or poor isn't easy for nonprofit clinics: The cost of malpractice insurance alone dramatically impacts physicians' abilities to open clinics or offer a wide range of services.

Madamec8  (Level: 85.9 - Posts: 897)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 3:50 AM

Part 2

Some clinics do get a boost from the federal government by earning recognition as a Federally Qualified Health Center. The government awards the qualified centers substantial grants and malpractice insurance, relieving a huge expense. The process for recognition is highly competitive, and only 7,000 clinics hold the federal status. Out of that number, Noblett estimates a few dozen are Christian clinics. He says the number of qualified centers significantly grew under the Bush administration, and he hopes President Barack Obama will expand the program even more.

For clinics that don't win the federally qualified status, the work is even harder: Clinic staff must raise funds to balance their budgets, and physicians typically earn far less than they could in private practice. Back in Augusta, Scarborough estimates he could make at least twice as much in private practice.

But the husband and father of four small children came to help Campbell start the clinic as soon as he finished his medical residency in 2007. "I realized there's a difference between the American dream and the Christian dream," he says. "The American dream says work hard and have all you can in this life. The Christian dream says lay down your life and pick up your cross."

Both doctors picked up their crosses by forgoing salaries at the clinic for over a year. The physicians moonlighted, working shifts at local hospitals to pay their personal bills so the clinic could survive. A large grant from a local hospital helps keep the clinic afloat. (A hospital also allowed the clinic to use its current location for the cost of renovating the space, and local organizations donated supplies and labor.)

Giving up some of the comforts a medical career can buy wasn't an easy decision, says Campbell, who also has a growing family, but a gospel-centered concern for the poor drives the men to think like missionaries: "We consider ourselves well-paid missionaries and poorly paid physicians."

Being a missionary-doctor to patients means entering into their spiritual as well as physical problems. "The No. 1 diagnosis here is despair," says Campbell. "And we don't have anything in our prescription pads for that." The doctors and nurses address spiritual needs by praying with patients, reading Scripture with them, and talking with them about Christ. Clinic staff recently threw a birthday party for a patient with a debilitating illness that had left her desperate before coming to the clinic. Campbell remembers her words: "This was my last hope. I was either going to get help or I was going to put a bullet in my head." The doctors helped relieve her physical suffering, offered spiritual hope, and watched her improve.

The physicians hope to improve their outreach by adding another doctor to the clinic, but first they need more space: The four exam rooms are barely enough space for the two doctors and four nurses that handled more than 3,000 patient visits last year. To that end, a local real estate developer donated a 120-year-old building—known as the "Widows Home"—that served first as a home for Confederate widows and then as a home for women in need until 2003.

Local volunteers—including many church groups—have donated hundreds of hours of volunteer labor to gut the existing structure, and clinic staff hope to raise some $3 million to renovate the historic building into a 15,000-square-foot space with 12 exam rooms and a pediatric physical therapy suite. The economic climate makes fundraising difficult, but the staff hopes to move into the building this fall.

Scarborough and Campbell also hope to continue to encourage medical students to work in the clinic and to consider working in similar groups as a career. CCHF's Noblett says his organization reaches out to Christian groups at medical schools, and he points out Christian organizations like Project MedSend that help medical students repay student loans so they can serve in Christian clinics for the needy. "We need Christians to think missionally," says Noblett. "The biggest thing is talking to [students] about living like the people you serve instead of like the doctors who trained you."

Campbell tells students the sacrifices are worth the rewards. "I've been driven into a deeper relationship with Christ, and that's the one thing I desire for me and my patients," he says. "It's always rewarding to bring down someone's cholesterol, but that's not nearly so good as union with Christ."

Copyright © 2009 WORLD Magazine

Bobolicios  (Level: 119.6 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 8:37 AM

What you copied some great article about a christian doctor doing something great. BRAVO. What does that have to do with National Health Care. All the more reason we should have a plan. I would assume fairly soon our infant mortality rates will actually be higher than 3rd world countries. Please don't post anymore Christian blogs about do-gooders there simply aren't enough of them out there.

Madamec8  (Level: 85.9 - Posts: 897)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 9:28 AM

Excuse me -- you are telling me what I can post? Why would you object to this, they are meeting a need, and meeting it now. It and other clinics like it are doing more than wringing their hands. You object because they are 'Christian do-gooders'? You object because it isn't enough? You object because you think the government should be doing this instead?

I'll tell you something -- and you don't see this in the media, because they aren't doing it to toot their own horn. The Catholic Church in this area has a program called 'Feed My Sheep'. Members of the parish cook and deliver a hot meal to the homeless once a week, and that means for at least one day children and families don't go to bed hungry. Other churches have Friday night suppers, and they don't care why someone is there, other than they are obviously hungry. But you don't want to hear about Christian 'do-gooders'?

Our community is filled with volunteers helping where there is need -- for the homeless, for the elderly, in the schools, you name it. I'd think you'd feel great relief that it's being done because you care so much about people.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 10:09 AM

There are many Christian do-gooders. Since when did "do-gooders" become a bad name? I wish the world were full of do-gooders of all kinds. There wouldn't be so many problems.

You're right - there aren't enough Christian do-gooders, but there are some, and the more people who know about them, the more people know where they can turn when they need help.

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2500)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 10:31 AM

Thanks for posting. Great Stuff.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 10:52 AM

Jan said, "There are many Christian do-gooders. Since when did "do-gooders" become a bad name? I wish the world were full of do-gooders of all kinds. There wouldn't be so many problems."

Probably off topic, but I'm just going to post what was going through my mind as I was reading this case of the "Christian" do-gooder. I'm not really trying to be smart, just trying to post a part of my perspective. I think some of the following Wiki article about the book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex written by Charles Darwin is probably relevant:

"Since the publication of Origin, a wide variety of opinions had been put forward on whether the theory had implications towards human society. One of these which would later be known as Social Darwinism, had been put forward by Herbert Spencer before publication of Origin, and argued that society would naturally sort itself out, and that the more "fit" individuals would rise to positions of higher prominence, while the less "fit" would succumb to poverty and disease. He alleged that government-run social programmes and charity would merely hinder the "natural" stratification of the populace, and first introduced the phrase "survival of the fittest" in 1864.

Another of these interpretations, later known as eugenics, was put forth by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, in 1865 and 1869. Galton argued that just as physical traits were clearly inherited among generations of people, so could be said for mental qualities (genius and talent). Galton argued that social mores needed to change so that heredity was a conscious decision, in order to avoid over-breeding by "less fit" members of society and the under-breeding of the "more fit" ones. In Galton's view, social institutions such as welfare and insane asylums were allowing "inferior" humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more "superior" humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with "inferiors." Darwin read his cousin's work with interest, and devoted sections of Descent of Man to discussion of Galton's theories. Neither Galton nor Darwin, though, advocated any eugenic policies such as those which would be undertaken in the early 20th century, as government coercion of any form was very much against their political opinions." (,_and_Selection_in_Relation_to_Sex)

My former sociology teacher (and I) both agree that this view still influences human behavior and politics to this day. Not to put down Smaug, but you can see this perspective pop up on Sploofus sometimes, in Smaug's jokes about "thinning the herd" for example, although I believe he is not completely serious. I sometimes think that this "lack of empathy" for those who are uninsured in part comes from the attitudes taken from this perspective on human society. I could be way off, but that's a part of my opinion about where this attitude comes from right now anyways.

Madamec8  (Level: 85.9 - Posts: 897)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 11:06 AM

There are also do-gooders who aren't religious at all, they do what they do because it is right, it meets a need.

This is a generalization, I know, but certainly typical of several I have met -- they are good at pontificating about the plight of minorities and the poor and how it's criminal that 'our country' doesn't do something about it. I look at their lifestyles, and they don't spend one dime of their own money or a single minute of their time with people in need. There are no minorities in their social circle. They don't visit the sick or the hungry.

A woman I know wrote this (now SHE is a conservative and proud of it) and I thought it was food for thought (I know I'm going to get blasted, but here goes anyway).

We conservatives want you liberals to
keep your money or give it to the charity
of your choice. But you liberals want to
take our money via taxes and give it to a
charity you set up thru federal or state
legislation so you can keep your money
and still feel good about yourselves.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 11:17 AM

Good grief, Jeremy. How did you get that people are not empathetic with those in need from a thread started for the very purpose of showing empathy to those in need?

Is it only empathy if it comes from the government? I would say of all the groups on earth that help those in need, Christians do as much or more than anyone else and are the most empathetic.

I'm so confused by what you wrote.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 11:32 AM

LOL, I think there have been so many health care threads going lately, I mixed up comments from another thread with this one. Still I think my post is relevant in relation to your comment that goes something like, "when did becoming a do-gooder develop a bad name" or something to that effect.

Fudypatootie  (Level: 205.8 - Posts: 1302)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 12:10 PM

There are certain people whose posts are always negative, calling others "awful" and "Nazi" and generally just being negative. Personally, I try not to sink to that person's level.

According to the Non-Profit Times, Religious observers (only 38 percent of all Americans) donate two-thirds of all charitable dollars in the United States, Religious observers (those who attend weekly services) donate 3.4 percent of income annually, while nonreligious people give 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent, Households that donate to both religious congregations and secular organizations donate over three times ($2,247) more than do households that donate to only secular organizations ($623) per year,

So I guess that shows that there are plenty of Christian do-gooders out there. Unless you don't care for my statistics, in which case you should probably move on to another thread.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 12:19 PM

Fudy: I don't know who you are talking about the negative posts and name calling, I can only assume I don't log on enough to know this person. I'm sorry to hear that. My argument wasn't that there aren't do gooders out there, becuase of course there are, only that such people often inherit a bad name. That is all.

Fudypatootie  (Level: 205.8 - Posts: 1302)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 12:37 PM

Oh, SYL, I wasn't directing that at you. No, there are certain others on this thread who've been known to name call. Specifically, she called Linda "an awful person" and she called me a Nazi. I don't address her directly, but she says some amazingly mean things.

I totally see your point. There are many people who believe in survival of the fittest not only as it applies to the animal kingdom, but to humanity. It's ultimate consequence can be seen when the government makes life and death decisions for those under 16, the disabled, and the elderly, since they are not productive members of society, according to them. I don't know if it is still the policy there, but at one time, the Netherlands had a policy that parents did not get to make decisions such as whether or not to "pull the plug" on their child under age 16 as that was a decision to be made by the doctors alone. That kind of thinking does influence people's decisions about who "deserves" health care, etc.

Bobolicios  (Level: 119.6 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 5:24 PM

I am very aware that you are speaking to me fudy, Linda and I have made our peace. You must hold grudges, which out here in cyber sploofus trivia land don't mean anything. I am far from mean believe me I have read mean and insensitive on the SD. I have developed a thick skin and if it isn't something I care about, National Health Care, social reform, gun laws etc. I don't post.
Madame I admire the doctors volunteerism and any Christian ministries that help people. However, it is just not enough. Health care needs to be addressed on a national level. If you aren't stooping to my level, then stop with the innuendo's and hidden agendas of trying to get back at me. I said what I felt and I won't apologize for it. You will see no more apologies from me on SD, not after some of the rotten comments I have read on here.

Madamec8  (Level: 85.9 - Posts: 897)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 6:29 PM

Bobo, that last paragraph isn't worthy of a reply, except to say stop projecting your own behaviors on to me.

Bobolicios  (Level: 119.6 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 27th Jul '09 6:43 PM

Madame I meant my apology to you, you are reading more into my comment than I meant. It was not directed at you. We don't have to insult each other if we have different views. Fudy has insinuated twice that I shouldn't post on this thread. She is still holding resentment from a comment I made months ago which I apologized for. Fine so be it, I find that kind of posting counter productive so now I am like some others on SD. If I believe is something strongly I will stand by my comments with no apologies. You don't have to read them or like them it is that simple. You don't even know me so I will not take it personally. It is a good to get a constructive debate going on health care because it is the next obstacle our elected officers are undertaking.

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