Good Samaritan Center launches yearly drive

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The Good Samaritan Center has launched its annual fund raising campaign for the months of December and January, mailing over 12,000 letters to local residents and supporters asking for help to match two challenge grants.

“We are grateful for the two foundations that gave us challenge grants to help us with our fundraising,” said John Willome, executive director of the center. “First, an anonymous foundation gave us a $50,000 challenge grant that matches any donations that come in December and January. Then the Shield-Ayres Foundation in San Antonio gave us a $15,000 challenge grant for any donations that come in over and above what a given donor gave during last year’s campaign. Basically, these two foundations believe in our work and we thank them for encouraging the public to support us, too.”

The Good Samaritan Center, located at 140 Industrial Loop, is a nonprofit medical and dental clinic that sees families and individuals who are uninsured and live below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (e.g., a family of four earning less than $47,100 per year). The clinic does not accept any state or federal funding, but relies solely on patient fees, private foundation grants and donations to operate.

“We will see around 2,200 medical and 1,400 dental and hygiene appointments this year,” Willome said. “We also have a mental health counselor who will see over 120 appointments and a diabetes educator who will conduct nearly 400 one-on-one training sessions. But the real power in what we do is the support we receive from Hill Country Memorial and medical and dental specialists in Fredericksburg, Kerrville, San Antonio and Austin. We couldn’t offer nearly the breadth of services we do without their generosity.”

Affordable Care Act

One common question both patients and donors ask the center is how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact the need for the center’s services.

Willome said that the way things appear to be working out, there will be very few of the patients the center serves serve who will have increased access to health insurance as a result of the ACA.

“Most of our patients live below 133 percent of the poverty level, and the ACA intended that the states would expand their Medicaid programs to include them,” Willome explained. “In the summer of 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the (ACA) could not mandate the states to do that, so more than half of the states, including Texas, citing unacceptable increases to the states’ budgets, opted out.”

“Additionally, the insurance rates through the federal insurance exchange available to the rest of our patients who live between 133 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level, even with the sliding scale subsidies, at this time appear to be beyond their economic reach,” Willome said. “In short, it’s turning out that our patients will continue to fall through the cracks of the healthcare system and it is critical that we be here for them.”

Donations

To make a donation to help earn the challenge grants, donors can mail a check and put “challenge grants” in the memo section or make a credit card donation via Internet.

Checks can be mailed to The Good Samaritan Center, 140 Industrial Loop, Suite 100, Fredericksburg, TX 78624.

The center’s website is www.goodsamfbg.org.

Persons who might need help from the center, can call 830-990-8651 for more information.

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