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In the complicated world of health care, one organization is taking a unique approach to helping those in need

Daniel Rodgers

By Michael Cuneo – 

Across from Fayette Piedmont Hospital on Highway 54 in Fayetteville rests a group of professionals that have ventured away from the traditional medical path to pursue something more unique. Trading in shifts under fluorescent lights and emergency rooms are the workers at the Fayette Care Clinic, a medical group that seeks to serve anyone who walks through their doors, for free.

Established in 2005, the Fayette Care Clinic has always attempted to serve the low-income and uninsured in Fayette County, but the non-profit organization’s Executive Director, Daniel Rodgers, says they never turn away anyone, regardless of background.

“For any resident of Fayette County that does not have health insurance but needs medical care, we provide the care for them,” Rodgers said. “We don’t take payments here at all. We don’t turn anyone away based on how much they make or what their life circumstance is.”

Daniel Rodgers

Rodgers is an advent student, first going through a pre-med program as an undergraduate before getting his Master’s in Health Care Policy from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. However, don’t let his sleek build and academic background deceive you; he competes in combat sports in his free time, specializing in Taekwondo.

Rodgers was introduced to the medical world in his college days as he managed several outpatient clinics while completing his pre-med degree. In these clinics, his perception of helping others and the reality of the medical world would collide.

“What kind of stuck with me when I was there was over the course of one week we had two patients come in with the same diagnosis, but they had different insurances.”

The two insurances were not equal, and one of the patients was informed that they would have to pay out of pocket, or they couldn’t receive the treatment.

“That didn’t really sit well with me,” Rodgers said after experiencing this dilemma. “I said there has to be something else that can be done. For a person going through a vulnerable time in their life, I don’t want to be a doctor that tells them I can’t help them.”

This awakening to the reality of the healthcare system led Rodgers to pursue a career in health care policy, something that eventually led him to become the executive director of the Fayette Care Clinic.

The Fayette Care Clinic operates entirely off of donations and the help of the community. Several of their doctors and nurse practitioners also volunteer their time and expertise to the clinic.

The board that oversees the clinic consists of heart doctors, therapists, and lawyers. These individuals have maintained the clinic and raised funding, as well as volunteered their own time to help patients.

“The other day somebody came in needed some dental work, and they were referred to one of our former board members who is a dentist, and he took care of them pro bono. We have a foot and ankle [doctor] on our board, we have a cardiovascular [docotor], so our board is set up with as much of the encompassing health care system as possible.”

The clinic also works with Fayette Piedmont Hospital, referring patients if they cannot treat them in their own office.

“People who get referred to our partners from us are not billed by that hospital.” Rodgers said.

One of the most prevalent debates in current American discourse revolves around health care and how it should be funded. You’ve probably heard every politician give you their take, seemingly selling a message that assures you that they have the right answer.

The answer you seldom hear about is organizations like the Fayette Care Clinic, which operates under the premise of helping everyone.

“One of the fundamental differing philosophies in America is: Is health care a right or is health care a privilege? The way we operate here at the Fayette Care Clinic is that health care is a right. You should be healthy. You should have the right to know what’s going on with your body and get the help you need. If you can’t pay, that’s ok. If you’re in a vulnerable space in your life but your unable to live to the fullest extent of your capabilities because you have some underlying medical condition, we will help you.” Rodgers said.

“I can’t solve this issue, and I can’t make anyone think differently, but what I can do is extend an open arm and say, ‘residents of Fayette County, if you need us, we’re here.'”

While many communities make a concerted effort to improve healthcare, Rodgers touched on the unique perspective of Fayette County and how it can become easy to lose compassion.

“What I would say to anyone out there that has the preconceived notion that all you have to do is work hard and it will come to you [is try] to be a little bit more open-minded and to understand that there are people out there that have been dealt very different cards in life.”

Rodgers says it is easy for most people to become so caught up in their own careers that they forget about those who are struggling.

“Success is not linear, it’s a multi-dimensional concept, and people really do just have bad luck sometimes. That doesn’t mean that they are not deserving of healthy and happy lives. There needs to be a lot more empathy and understanding in this world because sometimes people just truly are vulnerable and need help.” Rodgers said.

Going forward, The Fayette Care Clinic looks to provide help to anyone that walks through their doors. Rodgers even mentioned the possibility of the clinic extending to more communities one day. For now, the focus will stay right in Fayette County, an area that has plenty of people in need of a helping hand.

By Michael Cuneo

Michael Cuneo is a news and sports reporter for the Fayette County News. Michael graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism in 2020. In his off time, Michael enjoys torturing himself as an Atlanta Falcons fan. Follow Michael on twitter @michaelcune