The Good Samaritan Clinic is an interdenominational Christian ministry which provides primary health care to uninsured and underinsured people of all ages, races, creeds, and gender. In today's society, many people "fall through the cracks" in terms of healthcare. Certain members of our community do not have adequate income to afford health insurance, but are ineligible for governmental assistance. Members of this group sometimes delay seeking needed medical attention and treatment or, in some cases, do not attempt to obtain medical assistances at all; thereby prolonging or increasing whatever physical problems they may have. The Good Samaritan Clinic seeks to assist this segment of our society through community spirit and volunteerism.
Although the Good Samaritan Clinic officially opened its doors in 1999, its origins date back to 1993. At that time, Linda Boyd, a nurse for the State Department of Health, met with Jerry Wilkins, Director of Missions of the Tuscaloosa County Baptist Association, to discuss the need for a free medical clinic for women and children. This original concept quickly expanded to include medical care for men, as well. Within a year, local family practitioner Dr. Riley Lumpkin became involved. Through the help of more volunteers, they conducted studies to determine the needs and possibilities of a free clinic in Tuscaloosa. Estimates from the State Health Department, West Alabama Development Planning Council, and the DCH Regional Medical Center concluded that up to 20% of the Tuscaloosa County population was either uninsured or underinsured for health care needs.
Local pastor Dr. Tim Patrick was appointed by the Tuscaloosa County Baptist Association to assist in spearheading the clinic project. Members of the team made trips to a similar clinic in Tupelo, Mississippi, to obtain additional input, information, and ideas for the free-clinic in Tuscaloosa. In the meantime, DCH Regional Medical Center donated numerous medical supplies and equipment to be stored for later use. With the help of local volunteer professionals, the Clinic was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Sites for the Clinic were explored and considered. Eventually, the First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa made a building available located on 612 23rd Avenue in downtown Tuscaloosa, formerly the site of the Clancy McQue's restaurant. However, extensive renovations were necessary. Countless volunteers, foundations, churches, and civic organizations contributed money and services to the renovations, which costed around $60,000. Renovations included modifications to ensure that the Clinic would be easily accessible to disabled persons, whether they be patients or volunteers.
The Good Samaritan Clinic opened for operation on June 8, 1999, and was open twice weekly to provide medical care to those in need. It was and still is staffed by volunteer physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, counselors, and lay people from all walks of life. To date, more than 52 physicians, 45 pharmacists, and 120 nurses have volunteered their time and skills to this effort. These volunteers, as well as those who so generously contributed monetarily to support the Clinic, work together to aid the segment of our population which cannot afford medical treatment.