The Goshen Medical Center, in the Duplin County city of Faison, treats more than forty thousand patients per year. But rarely does it see this much excitement. Vice President Biden toured the clinic Wednesday morning, along with Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Biden announced the facility will get more than $635,000 from the Recovery Act. In total, two billion dollars are allocated for community health centers across the country. "Health centers are the heart of these communities,” said Biden. “They serve 16 million patients across the country every year, more than half of them are in rural cities - towns like Faison." Almost half of those 16 million patients who visit federally funded health care centers do not have insurance. A third of Goshen's patients are uninsured. "We see it every day. People who are either turned away or they go to an emergency room for hours and hours," said Goshen’s Allyn Dambeck, Md. The funds will help subsidize and improve their treatment, and will create new positions at the clinic; more doctors, more nurses and administrative staff. "I work in medical records and we spend lots of time searching for records and this will help us out and take less time so that we can spend with patients," added Tara Davis. But on a larger spectrum, Vice President Biden stressed that the physical health of rural counties directly correlates to a vital economy. “This country's back bone is defined by people in this community,” he said. "America needs its small towns to flourish, just as it needs its big cities to survive and flourish.” A county does not necessarily have to be rural to receive funding for community health centers. New Hanover is the only other county in our area getting this kind of help from the Recovery Act. It will receive a little more than $200,000 for the Community Health Center on Fourth Street.
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