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Senator says clinic helping Long County
Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson speaks with members of the Diversity Health Center. - photo by Photo provided / Coastal Courier
Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson became only the second sitting-senator to step foot on Ludowici soil when he recently visited the Diversity Health Center site in Long County.
The health center, a sister clinic of the Diversity Health Center in Hinesville, opened in late January as a federally qualified health center aimed specifically at providing comprehensive primary and preventive care to medically underserved and uninsured residents.
Isakson was instrumental in assisting the Diversity Board of Directors with applying for and receiving the federal designation, which allows the clinic to get up to $650,000 annually from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
After touring of the center's six exam rooms, lab room, intake area and personnel offices and meeting with staff, as well as Long County officials, Diversity Nurse Practitioner Florence Baggs thanked Isakson for helping to bring affordable healthcare to the county.
"We certainly appreciate what you have done for the residents here in Long County," she said. "So many of them need care."
"It was an honor to do it and it's because of the great work you do for the people," Isakson responded. "I believe in the federal, state, local partnership where everybody does their fair share and anytime we can bring money from Washington - it's your money, you pay taxes - my job is to get as much of it as I can back to you."
The junior senator added meeting "the needs of the uninsured is the big challenge" facing Congress in coming years and community health centers will be key in meeting that demand.
"If you have a health clinic and someone with diabetes or hypertension can go there to manage their problem and live a lot healthier life," Isakson said, "it's less costly than if they're depending on waiting until they have a blood sugar problem or waiting until they have a heart attack and then they're in the emergency room."
According to Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles, Isakson's visit made him the second U.S. senator to visit Ludowici while in office. He said the late Paul Coverdell was the first sitting-senator to come to the city.
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