Morehouse School of Medicine Opens Clinic in East Point to Help “Healthcare Desert”

The new Morehouse Healthcare at East Point facility will provide more healthcare access for south Fulton County.

By Madeline Montgomery, Atlanta News First

Morehouse School of Medicine opened a new clinic in East Point to help provide more healthcare access for south Fulton County.

“Our long-term plan is to meet people where they are for their needs of healthcare, their needs of community care, for their needs of service,” said Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President and CEO of Morehouse School of Medicine.

Morehouse Healthcare at East Point is opening at a critical time.

Last year, Wellstar Health System closed Atlanta Medical Center South in East Point and Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta, which left the city with no hospitals south of I-20.

“The closure of the two hospitals that were under the direction of Wellstar was going to have a tremendous negative impact on access to care, to quality care,” Dr. Montgomery Rice said.

Those closures motivated Fulton County leaders and Morehouse School of Medicine to partner up and see how they could fill in the gaps left behind.

“We took a comprehensive study that determined hundreds of thousands of Fulton County residents were without a healthcare home, most of these people were Black and brown. We learned there’s a healthcare desert in central and south Fulton County,” said Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

In April, health officials presented new data that shows the life expectancy in south and central Fulton County is five years shorter than in north Fulton County.

The average life expectancy in north Fulton County is 82 years, compared to 77 years in south and central Fulton County, according to the report by Morehouse School of Medicine.

“Residents were left without primary care services, specialty services, without emergency care, skilled nursing, without community health workers. All of these are services that this clinic will soon deliver,” said Dr. Adrian Tyndall, Executive Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine.

The clinic will have primary care providers for the thousands of patients they anticipate seeing. They’ll be able to help with prenatal care, treat common illnesses, and screen for chronic illnesses. They also will help with behavioral health. And Morehouse School of Medicine students will be able to get hands-on experience at the clinic.

“Together, Fulton County, Morehouse School of Medicine, we’re closing the gap and bringing health care choices here to central and south Fulton County,” Pitts said.

For now, the clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those hours will be extended in the new year.

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