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Editor, This letter was sent to local and federal officials.
I recently read the news story that announced the grant from the American taxpayers to Diversity Health and their plans to expand activities with the millions of dollars. I certainly believe the people of Liberty and Long counties need health care, I also believe that such large expenditures of tax funds should be subject to review and monitoring.
For these reasons, I want to let you know my experience with Diversity Health Center.
I have a daughter, age 42, who has a seizure disorder and has not had a job for several years. She has no insurance, nor any income from any source and my wife and I have paid for her health care for years, and expect to continue to do so. Since my wife and I are largely dependent on modest Social Security retirement, I was pleased to learn a few months ago that Diversity Health Center had a facility in Ludowici and that care for my daughter could be obtained there for a small part of the amounts we had been paying for years.
We contacted Diversity and made an appointment for her for 11 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2009. We were advised to arrive early to fill out forms, so we were at the center at 10:25 a.m. and completed the forms by about 10:45. We then sat in the waiting area until 12:10 p.m., when a nurse took us into the treatment area and took my daughter’s vital signs. The nurse then took us into an exam room at about 12:20, where we waited until 12:45, when all sounds of conversation and traffic in the treatment area ceased.
I went out, around and saw only one person in the treatment area, a lady in a nurse’s uniform sitting and reading documents. I went to the reception area and found that the only persons there were the receptionist and one patient (who was there before noon). The receptionist informed me the doctor and the nurse practitioner were gone. At 1:05 p.m., my daughter and I left.
On Dec. 3, I spoke with the administrator of Diversity Health and related the foregoing. She was apologetic and set up another appointment for Dec. 14, at 1:30 p.m.
We returned on Dec. 14, at 1:25 and a nurse practitioner whom I have known casually for many years saw my daughter and got her history of symptoms and treatment, and took her vital signs. She then prescribed medication and advised my daughter to make another appointment in January for blood work and to see the doctor. We were finished about 2:15 p.m.
On Jan. 4, an appointment was made for Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. We arrived about 8:55 and at 9:10 a nurse took my daughter into the lab to draw blood. My daughter remained in the treatment area and I waited in the lobby about a half hour, when my daughter came out and told me the nurse was unable to get blood from her veins, and she should return on Jan. 13 at 9 a.m. to see the doctor who would take the blood sample.
On Jan. 13, we arrived at Diversity at 8:55 a.m. There were several people in the waiting area, and we checked in and sat until about 9:30 a.m. Several people came out of the treatment area and left during about 10 minutes, one of whom was the nurse practitioner who had seen my daughter on Dec. 14.
About 9:45 a.m., a nurse came out and took one elderly man, who had been there when we arrived, back into the treatment area.
At 10 a.m., I approached the receptionist and asked why we were waiting. She told me the staff had been in a meeting that lasted longer than expected. She could not say when we would see the doctor.
We left and have no plans to return. It was apparent from my observation of the practice at Diversity during four visits that the treatment we received was not much different than provided to other people.
During my visits there, no one on the staff, other than the nurse practitioner whom I knew, introduced themselves by name or job title, made no apologies for being late, nor exhibited any concern for the interests of my daughter or any other patient.
By now I suppose you wonder what I expect you to do. First, I do not want Congress to stop working to provide health care to the people, especially in the area that should be served by Diversity.
However, this will not be accomplished by simply giving millions of dollars to organizations solely because they promise to provide health care. These grants should be made only after diligent inquiry into the practices of the grantees, and should include monitoring after the grants are made. Mere numbers of patient contacts and hours of service are not enough.
Health care reform will not be accomplished by laws creating a massive insurance bureaucracy.

A.G. Wells Jr.

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