Bekins A-1 Atlanta Branch Helps Relocate Hope Medical Clinic
LAWRENCEVILLE — For Andy Glenn, the folks at the Hope Clinic are like family.
So when he heard the clinic offering medical services for Gwinnett’s uninsured and underinsured was moving to its new digs last week, he didn’t hesitate to lend a hand with the behemoth task.
About The Clinic
• Founded in 2002 by Dr. William Martin
• Offers internal medicine for the uninsured and underinsured, including Medicare patients
• Operates on a pay-what-you-can basis
• Now located at 121 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville
• New website at www.hopeclinicgwinnett.info
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for any of them,” said Glenn, a patient at the Hope Clinic since he was a kid. “It’s no big deal. It’s just something you do.”
Thanks to a $1 million grant and private donations, the Hope Clinic closed the doors to its tiny, 4,200-square-foot former home on West Pike Street two Fridays ago. Then the arduous process of moving an entire medical practice to a new, 10,150-square-foot office on Langley Drive began.
Doors officially opened there on Monday.
Only about a third of a mile separates the two locations, but the move was a task that took help from all over and a lot of 12-hour days.
“It’s like moving a mountain across the street,” Director of Clinic Operations Jessica Geller said.
It was truly a community effort — in addition to clinic employees and their family members’ help, local businesses and volunteers chipped in big time.
U-Haul trucks to move the more than 400 boxes of patient files were donated by Adamark Jewelers. Clifford and Lindsay Pope Brayfield donated more than $60,000 worth of architectural services. Bekins moved the clinic’s medical equipment at “deeply discounted” rates. The Lawrenceville Garden Club is donating landscaping services. Law firm Webb, Tanner, Powell, Mertz and Wilson donated their legal services for the purchase of the building.
The list goes on and on and on.
“It’s been a huge project with a lot of the community involved to get it done,” Geller said. “We’re very excited. It will be a great home for our patients to come to. They need something nice.”
And nice it will be, “night and day” compared to the clinic’s previous rental space.
The two-story brick building the Hope Clinic now owns is not new, but it feels like it. The inside was totally gutted and reconstructed to fit its needs, adding $750,000 worth of renovations to the building the clinic purchased for $1 million.
All-new X-ray equipment sits among freshly painted walls right outside a spacious new waiting room. Seven exam rooms rest on the bottom floor, with six more and a diabetic education room upstairs.
When an elevator is installed — hopefully by June — the clinic will be able to open that second floor with another provider and even more space for patient care.
“It’s so nice. I was surprised when I saw it,” Glenn said. “I thought maybe half the building, or just the upstairs, or just the downstairs. It’s a definite step up.”
And, thankfully, there’s also now room for physician’s assistants offices and a suitable break room for a staff of 15. All additions and phases included, the building will be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.25 million.
“It gives us a sense of spaciousness,” Executive Director Pam Martin said with a laugh. “We don’t want our patients to feel like they’re being crammed into this little exam room … We have seating for seven in an exam room now.”
The new home for founder Dr. William Martin and staff couldn’t come at a better time.
With the economy continuing to struggle and other providers increasingly denying Medicare patients, the demand for a place like the Hope Clinic — which operates on a pay-what-you-can model — is on the rise.
The Hope Clinic’s rent at its former location was about to go up to $8,000 a month, Geller said, meaning that owning the new building will put about $100,000 back in the kitty each year.
“Dr. Martin was concerned to move too much further from where we were at, because we had over 9,000 patients, and this building was for sale,” Geller said. “It was just kind of a miracle that this building was available when we got that (community bloc development grant).”
Though some patients found their way down the road during the move, the Hope Clinic officially opened its freshly painted doors to patients on Monday. There’s still some work to be done (reorganizing the parking lot, getting a formal sign), but the Gwinnett health care staple since 2002 is happy in its new home.
“This place is amazing compared to that place over there. It’s moving up big time,” Glenn said with a grin. “Just like the Jeffersons. Moving on up.”
Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Steve Johnston, right, holds a blood pressure machine to the wall as Marisol Ramos, Mary Frost, left, and Kirby Reinecke decide on the proper place to hang it at the Hope Center’s new location on Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. After eight years, the Hope Center, a nonprofit medical facility, has moved locations and almost doubled in size.
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