Community Health Mission in Chatham County was one of only ten organizations that received funding in an effort to address the growing problem of the uninsured and to recognize physician and community volunteerism. The grant was very competitive – about 130 organizations requested it.
“We are pleased to honor Community Health Mission and their dedication to improving the health of those who are most in need,” said AMA Foundation President Peter Carmel, MD. “The AMA Foundation is committed to recognizing the extraordinary physicians and volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to provide critical health care services.”
The funds will pay for medical care for 431 patients for a full year, including a full medical exam, wellness programs such as nutrition classes, diagnostic screening tests such as Pap smears and mammograms, and access to medication.
“It is a great honor that we were selected,” said Dr. Miriam Rittmeyer, Executive Director of CHM. “The AMA is the most prestigious organization in the medical world.”
Community Health Mission (formerly Community HealthCare Center/Savannah Health Mission) gives medical help to the uninsured. CHM serves a diverse population of patients who are unable to afford health insurance and don't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. The majority of patients are women working in small businesses or in jobs that don't pay benefits. It provides nearly 10,000 patient visits annually on a combined basis.
The health care offered by CHM is valuable to the community as well as patients.
“It’s important because you can diagnose at an early stage,” Dr. Rittmeyer said. Early diagnosis means a better chance of success and avoiding emergency room visits. When the community doesn’t invest in primary healthcare and diagnostic tests, it pays in more expensive treatment later. “It’s more costly to the hospital and the patient,” she said.
Community Health Mission (formerly known as Community HealthCare Center/Savannah Health Mission) is a private, non-profit 501(3) tax-exempt organization which is formed from the merger of two organizations, Community HealthCare Center and Savannah Health Mission. Community HealthCare Center was established in February 2000 under the name of Coastal Health Inc. Coastal Health Inc.
incorporated in the State of Georgia on Nov 29, 2000. On July 9th of 2002, Coastal Health Inc. changed its name to the “Community HealthCare Center” to reflect its mission to the community. The Community HealthCare Center was part of the Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) with the model of a free health clinic/center that utilizes retired health care professionals. All services are provided free of charge to our patients. The Community HealthCare Center is com posed of a Board of Directors, a Medical Advisory Board, an Ethics Committee, a paid staff and volunteers. Run by 12 paid staff and 65 community volunteers (physicians, nurses, health promoters), Community Healthcare Center provided in 2005 FREE 8,578 patients visits to the uninsured in Savannah and 9,536 free patient visits in 2006. From 2001 to the end of 2006 it reaches the benchmark of 27,926 free patient visits. On May of 2006, CHC took the operational responsibility of a one-night clinic located at Memorial University Medical Center called Savannah Health Mission. Physicians and community leaders established Savannah Health Mission in 1996. This one-night clinic had similar goals as CHC, to help the uninsured to access the healthcare. On April 2007 it was voted unanimously by the board to merge both organizations and adopted the name of Community Health Mission.
The generous fina ncial contributions together with time contributed by retired and volunteer physicians, other medical and technical professionals and daily volunteer office support make it possible to provide quality medical care, education and lifestyle changes for people in need in Chatham County and nearby
communities. If you would like to receive more information, volunteer your services or make a tax-deductible donation, call: (912) 398-4810, Dr. Miriam Rittmeyer, Executive Director of Community Health Mission, or visit the website at www.chcsavannah.org.