Two years ahead of plans, the Diversity Health Center Board of Directors broke ground for its new medical center Thursday.
The site on Fraser Drive will double the facility size and services offered.
Currently, Diversity Health Center treats uninsured and underserved residents of Liberty and Long counties with two locations in Hinesville and one in Ludowici. The new center will include 16 exam rooms and the capacity to provide 10,000 additional visits per year, offering medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy services.
The new center was originally planned to be developed in 2020, but under the leadership of CEO Stephanie Jones-Theaker, Phase I is scheduled to be completed by April. It will include 12 exam rooms for medical and mental health services as well as a pharmacy. Phase II will include dental and pediatric services with four additional exam rooms.
“When I came here two-and-a-half years ago, I wanted to do here what I did in Tampa and Melbourne,” Jones-Theaker said. “We want to provide great healthcare for the most vulnerable people who are under and uninsured.”
Now, Diversity is a step closer to that goal. The process began in 2012 with former Hinesville Fire Chief Julian Mingledorff helping the organization get the property. He also donated funds.
The board expedited the plans as the medical needs of the community continue to expand.
“Everybody can’t turn a vision into reality, but you have done that,” State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway said.
He thanked the Mingledorff family for supporting the project and commended the CEO, staff and board for the work they are doing to provide services.
The lawmaker also said providing quality and affordable healthcare benefits everyone. Through Diversity’s services there will be less burden on taxpayers, streamlined services at the local hospital and less time away from work and school for residents who typically couldn’t afford treatment.
“This country of plenty shouldn’t reduce healthcare to a political football game,” Williams said. “It’s our responsibility to be our brother’s keeper and rise above what divides us.”
County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette said he was proud to say that Liberty County has done that.
“Our county is moving forward, taking care of education with Armstrong now Georgia Southern, retail with the new shopping center and now healthcare with the Diversity Health Center and east end clinic. All the parts are working together. Thank all of you for helping make Liberty County better,” Lovette said.
Diversity is a privately-owned, not-for-profit, federally qualified health care center. Services are provided on a sliding scale based on income; however, all patients are treated regardless of ability to pay.
The new clinic is funded using a loan so community donations are accepted to pay off the debt.
“The quicker we pay the loan, the more money we can put back into providing direct patient services which is what it’s all about,” Jones-Theaker said.
Visit www.diversityhc.org or the office at 303 Fraser Drive in Hinesville to make a donation. Donation levels include options to buy memorial bricks for $50 each or dedicate exam rooms for $5,000 donation, service areas for $10,000 and two waiting rooms for $25,000 each.