Healing Hands Health Center Gets $10,000 Grant from AT&T

One of the great resources for the working poor in Bristol is not the government that just wasted $11 million to turn a wrecked and empty garage into a country music museum, but an organization called Healing Hands Health Center. Thanks to a generous gift from AT&T of $10,000 they can continue to carry on a service in desperate need in this community.

They are a "Christian Ministry serving the unmet health care needs of Bristol area residents. Their mission statement is,

Healing Hands will be a widely recognized, volunteer Christian Ministry that serves as an innovative leader in coordinating services and providing health care that is comprehensive, free, or low cost, and of high quality to the underserved of our region.

That underserved and mostly ignored is the working poor, the key to profits and prosperity for the haves in Bristol. Like many low-wage workers in Bristol I had to go there for years until I finally got to use the Veterans Administration clinics.

While government statistics claim about 20 percent of the population from 18-65 is uninsured, I believe it's more like 40 percent. This is due to many having such poor coverage and high deductibles as to be useless. Healing Hands Health Center fills in the gap.

What is unique about Healing Hands is the services, which are mostly little or no cost, apply only to those that work for living. This is not welfare where work is discouraged if not outright penalized. That alone removes a lot of the riff-raff that floods government services. They also help those that lost their jobs. The client has to provide proof of employment and residence.

They provide very basic services and for "prescriptions" I got medical office samples or drugs donated from drug makers. The doctors and other medical staff are volunteers. According to their website at www.healinghandshealthcenter.org, some of the following services are not available at Healing Hands:

Prenatal care
Child health care under age two years
Gynecological Services
Birth control/family planning
Screening for sexually transmitted diseases (referred to health department)
Epilepsy treatment
Treatment of serious conditions such as cancer, heart conditions, etc.
Disability determinations
Treatment of very complex conditions
Contact Lenses will not be prescribed nor provided
People who are intoxicated
People seeking narcotics

If one wants to give a donation see their donate page. They do receive funding from the United Way and don't take donations during their funding drive.

Ranked near the bottom for healthcare, again

As for the healthcare that the tens of millions in Tobacco grants was supposed to go for before they got diverted to pork barrel waste, the Bristol Herald Courier reports (March 31, 2011),

Six Southwest Virginia counties rank among the state's 10 worst localities in terms of their residents' longevity and overall physical and mental health, according to a report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation...

According to this year's health rankings report, Russell County ranked 123rd out of the state's 137 counties, Tazewell County ranked 124th, Lee County ranked 125th, Wise County ranked 126th, Dickenson County ranked 127th, and Buchanan County ranked 130th.

This is nothing new as the region has been ranked in the bottom 10% in the nation for years. Perhaps a billion dollars in economic development have produced little return for the average citizen. It does fund a lucrative industry in grant farming for non-profits, consultants, developers, and government hacks.