NCMS DISASTER RELIEF FUND HELPS EASTERN NC MEDICAL PRACTICE REBUILD
Grand Re-Opening Ceremony Held for G & G Healthcare in Whiteville
WHITEVILLE, NC – On Thursday, April 4, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation publically presented G & G Healthcare with a check for $60,000 to help the medical practice rebuild after being flooded out in Hurricane Florence last fall.
Melvin Gerald, MD, and his brother Keith Gerald gratefully accepted the check at a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Columbus County Chamber of Commerce to mark the official re-opening of the practice. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) and The Physicians Foundation, both generous contributors to the Disaster Relief Fund, along with Columbus County dignitaries and Chamber of Commerce leadership all remarked on the resilience of the Gerald family and their commitment to providing quality health care in an area that often faces a shortage of health care options.
“Dr. Gerald’s story of returning to the eastern Carolina community where he grew up to practice medicine and serve his community is a moving one,” said Gerri Mattson, MD, MSPH, President of the NCMS Foundation Board of Trustees. “He and his family have persisted through two devastating hurricanes in order to care for those who have come to depend on them. The many contributors to the NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund are honored to provide this financial support to allow G & G Healthcare to continue their important work. Ensuring access to health care in underserved communities is at the very core of our Foundation’s mission.”
Dr. Gerald and his siblings operated three G & G Healthcare offices in Columbus County before Hurricane Matthew wiped out their office in Fair Bluff three years ago. They continued to see patients at their Cerro Gordo and Whiteville locations until Hurricane Florence flooded out the Whiteville practice. Many patients who frequented the office in downtown Whiteville could not make the 15-mile trek to Cerro Gordo for their care, Dr. Gerald said, making the reopening of the Whiteville location crucial to continued access to health care for many in Whiteville.
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina commends the Gerald brothers for their tireless commitment in providing access to vital health care that the citizens of eastern North Carolina need and have come to depend on,” said Jesse Thomas, VP of the Medicaid Segment for Blue Cross NC. “That’s why Blue Cross NC and Healthy Blue are proud to provide a combined $500,000 to help rebuild Eastern NC practices affected by devastating hurricanes across Eastern North Carolina, so that together we can continue to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians.”
“In the face of ongoing adversity, the Gerald family is a community staple as they serve patients in this area who need it most. The Physicians Foundation is honored to support the North Carolina Medical Society as it helps physicians resume caring for their patients following the devastating storm damage, said Gary Price, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation. “It’s our hope Dr. Gerald can get back to leading his community and providing quality health care for Whiteville residents, who otherwise would have few options for care.”
The NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund anticipates making significant contributions to other medical practices recovering from the lingering effects of Hurricane Florence.
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About the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation
The NCMS Foundation (NCMSF) is the philanthropic arm of the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and seeks to improve access to quality health care for all North Carolinians. Programs to achieve this mission include the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership, which provides training to prepare physicians and physician assistants to be effective health care leaders, and the Community Practitioner Program, which improves access to health care by placing medical professionals in rural and medically underserved areas of the state.
About the North Carolina Medical Society
The North Carolina Medical Society is the oldest professional member organization in North Carolina, representing physicians and physician assistants who practice in the state. Founded in 1849, the Society seeks to provide leadership in medicine by uniting, serving and representing physicians and their health care teams to enhance the health of North Carolinians.
About The Physicians Foundation
The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and helps them facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients. It pursues its mission through a variety of activities including grant-making, research, white papers and policy studies. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded numerous multi-year grants totaling more than $50 million. In addition, the Foundation focuses on the following core areas: physician leadership, physician practice trends, physician shortage issues, and the impact of healthcare reform on physicians and patients. As the healthcare system in America continues to evolve, The Physicians Foundation is steadfast in its determination to strengthen the physician-patient relationship and assist physicians in sustaining their medical practices in today’s practice environment. For more information, visit www.PhysiciansFoundation.org.