June 9, 2014
Myron Faircloth Brings Health Care to Underserved Rural South Georgia Town
VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Dr. J. Myron Faircloth recently established a primary health care practice in a small, rural, one-stoplight town. His mission is to bring back the days when health-related decisions were made by a patient and his or her health care provider, days when health care providers knew their patients and their families.
On June 2 Faircloth opened Peach City Walk-In Clinic LLC in the Brooks County town of Morven, a charming place known for its peaches and homemade peach ice cream (Lawson Peach Shed), annual Peach Festival held the third weekend of May, award-winning barbecue (Miller’s BBQ), and fresh, wild-caught seafood (Pike’s Landing). With a population of 550 or so, it is the kind of place where families have lived for generations, where neighbors all know each other by name.
Born in Homerville and raised in the Morven/Barney area most of his life, Faircloth used his own money, along with in-kind and monetary donations from residents in the small town and the nearby Valdosta community, to open the clinic. He described the experience as a true community effort — and a much-needed one.
“Due to this being a rural area,” explained the practicing family nurse practitioner and assistant professor of nursing in VSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, “there is a lack of providers, along with a decrease in health care coverage, which leads to higher mortality and morbidity rates. One of the greatest acts that a person can do is to give back to others and their community. This was my way not only to improve the health care of the citizens but also to give back to my hometown.”
Faircloth said that the community’s response to the clinic has been “overwhelming,” with residents young and old offering to volunteer their time and services to help their families, friends, and neighbors get well, stay well, and live long, happy, and healthy lives.
Located at 468 Park Street in Morven, Peach City Walk-In Clinic LLC is currently open to patients from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on most weekends. Operating hours fluctuate based on Faircloth's teaching schedule and prospective patients are encouraged to call in advance. It is a cash clinic, and patients from newborn to adult pay a flat $50 for an office visit, with necessary supplies and medications costing a little extra. The health care team, which includes Faircloth and Dr. Alberto Garcia and Dr. Vera Garcia of Valdosta-based G & G Family Medicine MD PC, is able to treat any and all conditions at the clinic — except chronic pain management.
Before the clinic opened its doors, Morven’s citizens had to travel to Valdosta or to Quitman for medical treatment. Many of them were not seeking out health care due to a lack of insurance and transportation.
Faircloth referred to Peach City Walk-In Clinic LLC as one more example of the VSU College of Nursing and Health Sciences supporting South Georgia communities and families through increased access to health care providers. The clinic also benefits the university by expanding opportunities for faculty to maintain clinical practice skills and students across all health disciplines to gain valuable experience caring for patients in rural, community-based settings.
“My hope,” he further noted, “is to have VSU students perform clinical rotations and volunteer. We have consistently had problems identifying sufficient and appropriate clinical placement sites for our baccalaureate and graduate students across health programs, particularly nursing. I have a vision to be in a collaborative role with not only the nursing program but also with others, such as exercise physiology, sports medicine, speech-language pathology, counseling services, etc.
“I plan to approach friends of mine in the different health fields, such as podiatry and dermatology, and ask them to provide clinic days once a month at a discounted cash rate.”
Faircloth said none of this would have been possible without the ongoing support of Morven’s L. E. Godwin Jr., city mayor; Lynwood Yates, police chief; Sandy Rentz, city clerk, and the five-member city council, as well as the county’s leadership. He said it also would not have been possible without Dan and Jackie McLeod, who provided a building to house the clinic, and Tim and Linda Coombs of Coombs Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., who provided a heating and cooling system.
Cody Vegas, artist and entrepreneur, shared his enthusiasm for Faircloth’s project, composing an original song titled “Morven, Georgia (Peach City Clinic).”
The Garcias believed in Faircloth’s dream and offered to help, having also realized a need to provide care to the town’s residents.
“This is an example of successful interprofessional collaboration and community partnership,” Faircloth added.
Faircloth joined the VSU faculty in 2007 as an instructor in the College of Nursing and Health Science’s Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program. A practicing family nurse practitioner with admitting privileges at Smith Northview Hospital, he maintains an active practice at G & G Family Medicine MD PC, where he has worked since 2011, when not teaching. He is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Faircloth earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Georgia Southern University in 2011, a Master of Science in Nursing from Brenau University in 2002, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from VSU in 1995. He is a Georgia Board of Nursing-licensed registered nurse and advanced practice registered nurse. He is certified as a family nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
In January 2013, Faircloth kicked off a four-year term as a member of the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits. Appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, his role with this group is to advise the governor and Georgia General Assembly on both the social and financial impact of current and proposed health insurance benefit and provider mandates on small businesses.
In early 2014, Faircloth was named a member of the second class of the State Bar of Georgia’s Citizens Advisory Council.
Peach City Walk-In Clinic LLC can be reached by calling (229) 375-1016.
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