Local News

August 8, 2012

Big plus: New health care center opens doors

Dr. Wiley Smith moved to Dalton three years ago to minister to those who lack health care, and he says that work has kept him very busy.

As part of his effort, Smith has volunteered with Grace Medical Outreach Ministries,

“It’s a church-sponsored group, and we do house calls for indigent patients, people who can’t get to doctors. Grace Presbyterian Church is our main sponsor. But we get support from a lot of other churches,” Wiley said.

Smith has also worked part time at a federally qualified health center in Chatsworth. Federally qualified health centers target those without health coverage, but they also provide health care for those with insurance or who are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

The operator of the Chatsworth center, Morganton-based Georgia Mountains Health, celebrated the opening of the Partnership HealthCenter, a new clinic it will operate at the Mack Gaston Community Center in Dalton, on Tuesday.

“I’ll be working here three days a week,” said Smith. “If people have health insurance or Medicare or Medicaid, that’s great. I’ll be happy to see them. And if they don’t, they are still welcome.”

Officials stressed the health center isn’t just a walk-in clinic but a full-service family practice.

“We have a big emphasis on prevention, helping people maintain healthy lifestyles and helping those with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure manage those conditions,” Smith said. “Having a health center in the community center will be a big plus. There are so many activities here. We’ve got exercise equipment here, a WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office right next door.”

Smith, an Alabama native, earned his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which trains doctors and other health care providers for the U.S. military. He retired after 20 years as an Army doctor. After that he spent nine years as a medical missionary in Belize.

“While I was down there I picked up a little Spanish, and that comes in handy,” he said.

Georgia Mountains Health CEO Steven Miracle says the health center is currently open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. But he said he hopes to add a second health care provider soon and expand those hours.

“This is a family practice, so we will do all of the things you’d expect your family doctor to do,” Miracle said.

Miracle said the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership and its executive director, Nancy Kennedy, and the Dalton City Council and Mayor David Pennington deserve much of the credit for helping bring the health care center to the community center.

Pennington said the health center was a key part of the council’s plan to make the building a community center and not just a recreational facility.


Text Only
Local News
  • runner thompson.jpg Taking the race back

    Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobby Lee Dixon mg.jpg Officials: Man jailed for driving toward officer

    A Chatsworth man who officials said accelerated a vehicle toward a law enforcement officer who was approaching on foot remains in the Murray County jail without bond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Charges undetermined following standoff (Updated 5:45 p.m.)

    Police have yet to decide whether to press criminal charges against a man they say was armed and intoxicated while barricading himself in his office at a carpet mill in downtown Dalton Tuesday evening.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014