Less than a year ago, a health clinic for people living in north Fulton and DeKalb was a small, cramped office space without many frills.
Now, patients coming to the North Fulton Service Center government building at 7741 Roswell Road might come for a health checkup, but they also have access to an array of county services such as childcare and job search resources.
Dr. Deborah Sumner, a doctor who works at the clinic, said she sees the value of having the clinic in a building that offers multiple services under one roof.
She said she helped guide a mother of a six-month old child who came to the clinic to a library at the annex.
“I asked her ‘Are you reading to your child?’ She said ‘No.’ I helped her get her first book.”
The clinic is a part of Grady Memorial Hospital’s network of neighborhood health care clinics, offering care for people that live in the north Fulton and DeKalb areas. The clinic offers lab services, a pharmacy, women’s health care, pediatrics and other non-emergency health services.
Jennie Olshaske, a spokeswoman for Grady, said the hospital’s network of health clinics also helps divert people who might not otherwise receive health care from making an expensive visit to Grady’s emergency room in Atlanta.
The clinic is focused on preventative care, but some people wait until they get sick to call for help. People with more minor illnesses can be checked by Grady EMS and then go to the clinic, she said.
“That’s an ambulance ride that Grady doesn’t need to pay for,” she said.
Sumner backed that up. She said the value of the health clinics is that it puts a facility in an area that’s convenient for people to receive preventative health care.
“You’re going where the patients are,” Sumner said. “It’s great for Grady because we get more patients.”
Frances Walker, 77, came to the clinic recently for a checkup and to test her blood pressure, which has been high. Walker, insured through Medicare, has been going to the clinic since it was located off of Johnson Ferry Road.
The new clinic is six miles from her home, she said, but she has help making her appointments.
“My family brings me,” she said.
The clinic is tucked into a 40,000-square-foot building that was built in the 1970s, but was part of a $1.9 million renovation over the summer, when the clinic was relocated.
The county offers public health services, a dental clinic, childcare and a library at the Roswell Road location, in addition to a county court, workforce development and the Department of Motor Vehicles, among other services.
The Atlanta-Fulton Public library maintains a reading room in the service center. The reading room is child friendly and it gives people who come a place to read, study and check out books.
The workforce development office offers career advisement, career assessment, GED training, job retention and job search assistance
Meanwhile, childcare services at the center are becoming steadily more busy. Representatives at the center estimated that the day care is seeing 300 children per month.
Doctors at the Grady clinic say the benefits of the childcare, in particular, are evident in the first months of the clinic’s operation at the new center.
The child care service looks after 300 children per month, and can attract people to the clinic, Olshaske said. Mothers who know they can drop their kids off at child care before a doctor’s appointment could be more likely to come.
Plus, it keeps healthy children out of the doctor’s office.
“When they are healthy, they are not around people who are sick,” Olshaske said.