Support for free clinic

The decision by a group of volunteers backed by a local church to start a free medical clinic in New Albany is welcome news for the community.

The clinic, which will operate under the name Agape Health Services, will provide free medical services to those who cannot afford insurance and are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.
It will be located at the corner of North and Alabama streets in New Albany’s Northside neighborhood and is expected to be open two days a week at the beginning.
The project is being supported by Bethlehem United Methodist Church as a mission outreach service. Dr. Eric Harding of The Internal Medicine and Pediatric Clinic of New Albany, said he has wanted to start a free clinic here for 10 years.
The Rev. Jeff Lawrence said the church was given the property about three years ago, and Harding had the idea of converting it into a medical clinic. In addition to Harding, doctors who have agreed to volunteer time include Dr. Shane Scott, Dr. H. F. Mason and Dr. Bill Johnson. Phyllis Koonce, a nurse practitioner from Cotton Plant, also will volunteer.
The project sill must clear one more hurdle before it can become a reality. The New Albany Zoning Board has approved the zoning change to allow it to operate in a residential neighborhood, but it still will undergo a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, before the Board of Aldermen.
We support this project and expect the board will hold the hearing and quickly endorse this forward step for our community. And we offer our thanks to the church and its members for helping make it happen.