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CLINE: Good Samaritan Health Center to present five-year plan

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

Greg Lang has operated the Good Samaritan Health Center since 2005, seeing the number of patients the nonprofit facility treats rise exponentially over the years. It’s a trend the doctor thinks will continue, which is why he is embarking on a five-year strategic plan that includes the goal of moving from its site on Club Drive and Pleasant Hill Road and adding a dental practice.

To accomplish those goals, the center, which services the poor and uninsured, needs to increase the donations it requires to run. To that end, Lang has scheduled a town hall meeting to present his plan to the public — next Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Sonesta Hotel (formerly the Marriott) in Duluth.

“We’re going to be presenting our strategic plan and explaining our fundrasing needs to interested parties,” Lang said. “We require donations to provide our services, and we want to add a full-time charity dental practice. So we’re asking members of the community — faith-based, businesses and others — to let us explain our plan.

“We have never done this before (in an open forum), because we have stayed at a scale where I could raise the donations. We are very small organization, and we’re trying to triple our physical size and double our operating budget.”

Those are big, but needed, goals, Lang said. Good Samaritan’s current building is constantly filled and landlocked, meaning expansion can only occur with a move. Underscoring how busy the center has become are these numbers — in 2011 it handled 3,100 appointments, a number that rose to more than 10,000 this past year.

“That just shows you how great the need is in the county,” Lang said.

The doctor said the current parking lot holds 27 cars, but with more than 75 people a day (including volunteers) coming through the building, cars are double- and sometimes triple-parked. It’s not only frustrating, but unsafe and impractical.

“We need to be in another location sooner rather than later,” said Lang, adding that his goal is to move to a new building by the start of 2015. “(With the cars double parked) we have times when one patient needs to leave that I have to go through the examination rooms and find a person and ask them to get dressed so they can move their car.”

Lang said that as the unemployment rate continues and people wrestle with higher deductibles, the need for Good Samaritan’s services will continue to increase as will the need to raise more funds.

“We’re going to show what we need to evolve into and what we needs to truly address the need of the county,” Lang said. “I hope people will come and hear what we have to say.”

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.