Addressing the rural healthcare crisis

January 11, 2021

People in rural areas need healthcare, too. 

The ribbon cutting ceremony at Mercer Medicine Clay County. Photo courtesy of Mercer.

For those living in rural southwest Georgia, gaining access to adequate medical care can be a hassle. In the 1980s the residents of rural Fort Gaines saw their only hospital shut down. The last pharmacy in all of Clay County closed in 2018. Over the course of the last few decades, the nearest urgent care facilities have been located an hour away, either in Albany, GA or Dothan, AL. 

Fort Gaines is the county seat of Clay County, and has a population of just 1,100. Until recently, Karen Kinsell has been the lone doctor serving Clay County for the last few decades.

The Clay County community received grant funding from One Georgia to explore healthcare options. The Clay County Board of Commissioners and Development Authority brought MUSM in to advise the renovation of the abandoned hospital. This new facility provides space for the Mercer Medicine clinic and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

High-speed internet is crucial for any healthcare facility to run properly. It also happens to be difficult to come by in rural areas. Fort Gaines is no exception.

Kinetx Prime was brought in to solve the immediate need for a high-speed connection. Our Halo device took the clinic’s connection speed from 1.54Mbps (with an expensive T1 line) to nearly 50Mpbs. 

Mercer Medicine Clay County officially opened in the fall of 2020 and offers primary care, X-ray services, on-site lab services, EKG, vaccinations and telehealth providers. At their grand opening Ben West, Executive Director of Finance & Administration at MUSM thanked Kinetx Prime for their role in getting the clinic going.

 “We have Kinetx Prime here…they have deployed, I think, the first ‘in the country’ internet service. They got us up and running from an internet and data standpoint. Thank y’all. We really needed that or we couldn’t have opened last week.” 

The successful Halo installation at the Mercer facility will open the door for other broadband opportunities within Clay County. 

Watch the testimonial about the Halo and the Fort Gaines clinic below.