NEWS RELEASE...



Moore Free Care Clinic Gets Initial Funding

An Anonymous Major Gift, Local Physicians Led by the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, and FirstHealth Donate Funds and Pledges

Clinic to Open in April and Provide Health Care to the Uninsured

February 16, 2004 - Carthage, NC - The Moore Free Care Clinic (MFCC), a not-for-profit clinic that will provide free primary care health care services to Moore County's uninsured and low income families, today announced that they have the resources in hand to begin operations. The clinic will open as planned in April.

"These generous donations and the wonderful pledges to provide professional services by nurses, physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists and clerical personnel provide us with the resources to open the doors of the Moore Free Care Clinic," says H. David Bruton, MD, chairman of the MFCC board of directors. "We are committed to the belief that health care is a basic human right and are dedicated to providing excellent basic health care services to every individual in our County eligible for services at our Free Clinic."

The MFCC Board of Directors, which estimates it needs approximately $300,000 for its initial year of operations, has received enthusiastic community support since it announced its campaign in October 2003.

In December a local resident provided an anonymous donation of $100,000 to the clinic, according to Dr. Mark Wethington, pastor of the Southern Pines United Methodist Church and vice-chairman of the clinic.

"The check was delivered in a plain white envelope with a simple note stating, 'Let it begin.'" says Wethington. "This person shares our vision and understands the critical need that the clinic will fulfill in our community. The heartfelt and very generous support of this individual makes it possible to open in April versus waiting many more months for the financial resources."

The chair of the clinic's development committee, Dr. Jim Tart, says he takes great pride in the fundraising response.

"Our fundraising activity has been jump-started by a group of 87 Moore County physicians, led by Dr. John F. Krahnert, Jr., president, of Pinehurst Surgical Clinic (PSC) and by First Health. They've all told us how worthy the clinic's mission is to the community and we thank them for helping us move ahead quickly."

Charles T. Frock, the president and CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, offered a challenge grant to support the new clinic last fall. That fundraising challenge was met and exceeded by the local physicians.

"FirstHealth is delighted to be a part of the Moore Free Care Clinic," says Frock. "We are pleased to be working together with our physicians to help provide a much needed resource for less-fortunate members of our community."

Public clinics, such as those sponsored by the Health Department, while valuable to the community, cover only specific segments of the population. Fortunately, county residents, regardless of their ability to pay, can access care at Pinehurst's FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, a not-for-profit health care center and through its associated physicians and surgeons. However, the uninsured often seek care only in emergency situations. Often they do not, or cannot, access the primary care and preventive care necessary to improve health and enhance quality of life. The MFCC will provide the uninsured with easy access to primary and preventive care.

The MFCC, which will initially be housed at the Moore County Department of Health in Carthage, will use the facility in the evening after the Health Department personnel have finished their work for the day.

The MFCC board of directors is conducting an executive search for the clinic's director, according to Bruton.

"We're looking for a capable and highly motivated individual who aspires to help others, particularly the vulnerable uninsured people that are in need of health care." Bruton also hopes they can find the right skills mix that also include Spanish language skills since so many of the clinic's patients will be Hispanic. "I know this a lot to ask for, but we have been so blessed that I feel the right person will come our way very soon."

ABOUT THE MOORE FREE CARE CLINIC

The Moore Free Care Clinic is a non-profit organization that provides free primary, preventive and specialty health care to limited income people living in Moore County who are uninsured and can't afford access to health care. The clinic is located at 705 Pinehurst Avenue, P.O. Box 1656, Carthage, NC 28327. For more information about the clinic, its volunteer opportunities or to provide a donation, please contact the clinic office at 910-947-6550 or visit the clinic's website, www.MooreFreeCare.org.