Americus pediatric clinic receives stimulus help - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Americus pediatric clinic receives stimulus help

December 9, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Healthcare has been a hot button issue lately. One thing we know is, few pediatric clinics treat patients without insurance. Those that do, often have full waiting rooms. That's the case with one clinic in Americus Georgia.

During daytime hours, Southwest Pediatric Clinic in Georgia has an average of twenty children waiting to be treated. "So the waiting time also increases with the space being so less. That can also cause more frustration," Poornima Chintalapalli, a pediatric physician said.

With just three waiting rooms, physicians say practicing medicine can be a challenge. "There's not enough space in the waiting room or kid friendly activities for them to do because of the lack of space. So it kind of gets hard for us to do the exam," Chintalapalli said.

The Americus clinic hasn't been able to rent a larger space because they're simply not available. Damage from last year's tornado made it hard to find available office space.

"When we opened, we couldn't find an office building because most where destroyed in this town," Dr. Ajay Geholt, Chief Executive Officer said. Wednesday, the clinic found out they'll be receiving a $1.2 million dollar stimulus grant, to bring big changes, long overdue.

"We don't want our newborns and less than three month old babies to be with other kids who are sick because they have a high chance of getting infected," Poornima Chintalapalli, a pediatric physician said.

Using this money, Southwest Pediatrics will build a 3500 square foot facility with double the patient rooms they currently have. 

The funding will keep families in rural West Georgia from traveling even farther to receive treatment. Southwest pediatrics is one of just two clinics of its kind in the state that received the stimulus grant. They plan to start building the new facility in the coming months.

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