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Mercy Heart
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Dear Editor: With unemployment on the rise and no real end in sight for the recession, more and more people are finding themselves making difficult choices about how to spend their hard-earned money. While opting to eat out less frequently or to take fewer trips in the car are common decisions in a tight economy, I believe there are some matters that should not be optional. I would put at the top of that list primary dental care and health care for those with chronic diseases.

Unfortunately, many people with diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic heart failure are either not taking steps to make sure these diseases remain under control or else are using the emergency room at the hospital for these basic services because they have no health insurance.

Likewise, too many adults are not seeking basic dental care for cavities or teeth cleaning because they do not have insurance or cannot afford to pay their co-payments.

In about a month a charitable health clinic for the uninsured in Rockdale County will open its doors on Ga. Highway 20 South. Mercy Heart Health Clinic is a volunteer-based and Christ-centered nonprofit organization that seeks to provide basic health and dental care for the uninsured, as well as ongoing education about the prevention of many health problems.

Providing this service in my home community is something that is near and dear to my heart - literally. Just a year ago I was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. I applied for health insurance and was rejected because of this pre-existing condition. There are thousands of people with similar health issues who have nowhere to go or the money to pay for treatment.

Mercy Heart will begin to see patients at the end of January, and we are excited about offering this service to our fellow citizens in Rockdale County. However, much work remains to be done and I invite anyone who would like to volunteer his or her time to minister to the physical or spiritual needs in our community to please give me a call at (678) 374-5134 or (770) 860-9464 send an e-mail to

Greg Smith