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Local clinic receives honor
Hearts & Hands called 'outstanding' by rural health board
Hearts Clinic file Web
In this Herald file photo from 2010, local optometrist Krystal Bragg, right, gives an eye exam as part of services from the Hearts & Hands Clinic. During its annual conference at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, the Georgia Rural Health Association gave Hearts & Hands its Outstanding Rural Health Program award. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File

Statesboro’s Hearts & Hands Clinic recently received statewide recognition.
During its annual conference at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, the Georgia Rural Health Association gave Hearts & Hands its Outstanding Rural Health Program award.
The award recognizes a program that meets a health-care need in a community.
“It’s definitely a validation of what we’re doing,” said Alvie Coes III, the clinic’s executive director. “Community clinics are playing an important part in improving rural health.”
Even though Hearts & Hands’ location on North College Street is not rural, a significant percentage of the patients are from rural areas in and around such towns as Brooklet, Portal, Register and Stilson, Coes said.
To be eligible for services from Hearts & Hands, patients must be Bulloch County residents, have an income that is 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less and not have medical insurance.
One new service Coes announced Tuesday is mammograms. Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Coastal Georgia Affiliate offered the support, allowing Hearts & Hands to add mammograms to the services it provides for women.
In its application for the association’s awards, Hearts & Hands noted that unlike many other clinics of its kind, college students started it. It also noted that the clinic has received grants from several organizations, including $120,000 from the Georgia Baptist Healthcare Ministry Foundation in 2010, shortly after the clinic was started.
Hearts & Hands recently moved into its own, leased space, at 127 N. College St., after spending its first couple of years at Son’s Light Fellowship Baptist Church on U.S. Highway 301 South.
Coes said he hopes the award will help attract more community support so the clinic can serve more people in need.
“This really is an award for the county,” he said. “Bulloch County has been very supportive of Hearts & Hands. It’s something the county can celebrate and be proud of.”

Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.

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