Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

January 17, 2014

Health care concerns

Disciples Clinic answers questions about Affordable Health Care

Athens — As provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act take effect, businesses, physicians and patients are concerned about what adjustments they might have to make.

Gary Williamson, Chief Medical Officer of Disciples Clinic of Athens, Texas Inc. has some answers about how the plan will affect the clinic’s patients.

The Disciples Clinic is a faith-based volunteer organization whose mission is to provide low-cost high-quality medical and dental care to the working uninsured of Henderson County.

The Clinic is in its fifth year of operation, and has served about 1,300 patients as a primary-care clinic. Many services beyond the walls of the Clinic have been arranged, including special tests, procedures, surgeries, consultations and assistance with expensive (but necessary) medicines.

“Almost daily,” Williamson said. “I am asked what effect Obamacare will have upon the clinic. This is a difficult question to answer, as there have been all sorts of problems with the initiation of the program. Its full effect may not be appreciated for several years. The potential ramifications for all people are numerous and uncertain. We have, so far, seen almost no effect upon our practice, but we anticipate some future issues.”

 Williamson said if some of the clinic’s  patients are able to acquire health insurance and find conventional health care providers, the clinic will have accomplished its goal of “Standing in the Gap” for those patients.  To provide temporary relief and care to working patients as they attempt to find conventional care has been the goal from the very first, and it will continue to be so.

“I am concerned that the cost of insurance has increased so dramatically that our patients will not be able to afford it, even if it is available,” Williamson said. “This is because the insurance companies, in anticipation of major losses in insuring pre-existing conditions, have dramatically increased premiums for everyone. I am also concerned that many employers may decide to accept the penalties proposed, and will not provide health insurance. Another way around it is to make most employees accept ‘part-time’ status, without benefits.”

Williams said another concern  is if Texas expands coverage by Medicaid to 140 percent of poverty level, there will not be enough primary providers who are willing to accept the meager payments that Medicaid provides.

“The Disciples Clinic remains fully-committed to providing the services we offer to the working uninsured who qualify, regardless of any government program,” Williamson said. “The Clinic accepts no government funds, insurance payments, or tax dollars, and we are totally dependent upon the generosity of our volunteers and donors to continue our work. The philosophy behind the development of the Clinic was, in part, to see to the needs of those working people in the ‘insurance gap’ whose problems have prompted the involvement of government in health care.”

Williamson said Disciples Clinic will continue for as long as the community supports it. It will adapt, as necessary, to provide care to the low-income working people in need.

  “The Lord has provided for the needs of the Clinic at every juncture, and we trust in Him to guide us on our way,” Williamson said. “The support from the community for this effort has been tremendous and historic. I want to thank all of you who have supported us with your service, your prayers  and your funds. We shall continue to do this work, and earn your trust and faith in us.”

The Disciples Clinic mailing address is P.O. Box 1757, Athens, TX  75751. The physical address is 604 York (corner of York and Walker Streets), and the phone number is 903-677-3604.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • • DSC_0162.JPG Ramps for handicapped

    Encino Landscaping is doing a necessary job for the Texas Department of Transportation Tyler District. All four corners of the block upon which the Henderson County Courthouse rests are being converted to better serve handicapped pedestrians.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Appearance and operation of Splash Pad upgraded

    The Splash Pad at Athens Kiwanis Park has been closed this week, as work is being done that will upgrade the appearance of the surroundings and operation of the facility.
    The pad is now well into its first full summer of operation, and has proven to be a popular spot for youngsters in the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif GBC official asked to resign

    Gun Barrel City resident Carroll Strickland asked Councilman Marty Goss “to do the right thing and resign.”
    Strickland spoke to the GBC council during the citizen's comment portion of the Tuesday evening’s council meeting. Strickland  accused Goss of trying to take over the GBC Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
    In a prepared statement, Strickland said,  “Marty is doing harm to the city's reputation. I am asking the mayor and the city council to do something about the situation.”

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Nutt says being part of task force has really paid off

    Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reports that being a part of the Drug Enforcement Task Force in Tyler has paid off in a big way with the arrest of two major drug distributors.
    On May 13, following an investigation initiated in January by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators, Uleyses Roberts, 45, and Dijon Howard, 25, were arrested by a task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The men were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Unemployment jumps up in HC

    The Henderson County unemployment rate jumped up in July, according to figures from the Texas Workforce Commission.
    The Henderson County unemployment rate of 5.7 percent was an increase of .4 percent over June. The county saw both an increase in the size of the workforce and the number without jobs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24 gbc.jpeg Gift card to Chili’s

    Ralph Fortner, Chairman of the Gun Barrel City Chapter of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, presents Jamie Snuffer a gift card to Chili's Restaurant in Gun Barrel City. Fortner was thanking Snuffer for her volunteer efforts on behalf of the GBC Chamber Chapter during the recent July Fest held in GBC. Snuffer is the secretary for the CCLACC Ambassadors.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 Coaches at Kiwanis.jpg Coaches speak to Kiwanis Club

    Trinity Valley Community College Volleyball Coach Tosha Spain and Softball Coach Ashley Johnston were guest speakers at the Athens Kiwanis Club on Tuesday. The volleyball season begins in August, and the softball team starts its 30-game fall schedule in September.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 Victoria.jpg Emotional response given to Victoria's death

    The tragic news of 4-year-old Victoria Wyatt’s violent death set off an emotional response on Monday, with words of consolation for the child’s family and anger at the girl’s mother who admitted to taking her life. But mostly sorrow at the loss of one so young.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD readies for annual backpack distribution

    Athens Independent School District and the Help Center are teaming up once again to provide backpacks and supplies to students in need.
    The annual Back-to-School Bash is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Athens High School gym during the family fun day.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 Open house grace house.jpg Open house at Grace House transition location

    Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake, a faith-based transitional home for women, held an open house on Monday evening. The facility for women is 6,000 square feet on 13 acres in Tool.
    Grace House includes a kitchen and a classroom equipped with computers for training and practice, as well as dorm-type rooms for the residents.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo