Dalton clinic set to close that serves low-income patients - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dalton clinic set to close that serves low-income patients

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A low-cost medical clinic in Dalton is closing its doors, leaving residents without a place to get affordable healthcare.

For the past five years, the Partnership Health Center has provided low-cost health care to low-income patients, but the clinic's future is unknown. The clinic is operated by Georgia Mountain Health Services, which is a Morganton-based nonprofit agency. 

According to Dalton City Councilman, Tyree Goodlett, Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock sent a letter to the agency saying that the clinic's lease will be terminated on July 31. He said the agency had the right to renew for another term provided they exercised that right at least 90 days prior to the end of the term. 

Georgia Mountain Health Services pays $1 a year for its offices in the community center. 

Troy Richards, a clinic patient, said he's not sure what he will do if the clinic closes. 

"I'm low income, so Georgia state pays for all this for me. My Medicare, Medicaid and my Georgia Mountain Health," said Richards. 

Richards moved into an apartment complex on Red Clay Road to be closer to the clinic. It takes him about 10 minutes to walk to the clinic. 

"I don't have a license. I can't afford a car because of my low income. It's going to mess me up. I don't want to really have to start going back to Murray county you in Chatsworth," said Richards. 

Richards and other neighbors tell Channel 3, they're worried about fees and other qualifications that may come with a new clinic. 

"We don't really know or understand completely what the kind of people that the mayor is going replace for Georgia Mountain Health, because it could be somebody that's going to start charging. We're low-income. We just can't afford it," said Richards. "I'll find a doctor before then if it comes down to it, but I'm hoping it doesn't."

The Dalton City Council will hold a called meeting Friday at 5:15 p.m. to discuss the authorization to lease real property, which may impact the the clinic. 

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