I read a little story last night that I can’t get out of my mind. It was part of an article written by Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution about a conversation he had with Monty Veazey, president of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals. I remember Veazey from my days at the State Capitol; he’s a stalwart for rural Georgia healthcare needs. His job is hard these days.
Veazey was in Clay county over the 4th holiday. Clay county is located in extreme southwest Georgia along the Alabama border. Many of the smaller, rural hospitals near it have closed during the last few years. Anyway, Veazey said $700 disappeared from his wallet while he was there. He kept seeing patients who had been told, “You’re really sick; you need to get to the hospital in Albany.” And the patients said something like, “I have no money to get there. Just give me some medicine and let me go home.” So, Veazey gave them some gas money. They responded, “But I don’t own a car.” So, Veazey gave them some more money and said, “Find someone with a car, and pay them to drive you. You have cancer, and you will die without treatment.”
Here’s a gem of an article about healthcare in Clay county. Read it. It’s short.
If you feel like nothing you’re doing is going to make a difference, I have a little glimmer of hope to share with you. On the map, Clay county is the “L” shaped county on the Alabama border in SW Georgia. Clay county voted 55% Democrat in the 2016 election. They’re part of a little “blue” island in SW Georgia! So yes, we can flip rural Georgia back blue.