COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Access to healthcare is an issue facing rural areas across the country including right here in the West Georgia. However, one rural county just got an important resource in the battle for access to care.

ValleyHealth Care System in partnership with Congressman Sanford Bishop, just opened a pharmacy with a drive thru as a new part of their Talbot County clinic.

The shelving needed to make the pharmacy functional was a part of the $226,000 in grants and loans awarded to 2nd Congressional District of Georgia by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2018.

“It’s very good to have access to healthcare and to have doctors and they give prescriptions,” said Congressman Bishop. “But if the patients are unable to fill those prescriptions they might as well not have access to the remedy.”

This is one of two projects the funding went towards, the other was the purchase of X-Ray equipment also for the Talbot County clinic.

Dr. Kayla Guss from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the head pharmacist for this clinic.

The is the only pharmacy in the county’s entire 395 square mile radius, meaning residents no longer have to travel outside of county lines to fill their prescriptions.

Valley Healthcare System CEO Dr. Sarah Lang said having a pharmacy in-county is imperative to patient care.

“Family Physician or the Dentist says you need this medication as part of your service delivery, of your program of care… they will come right down the hall,” said Dr. Lang. “They won’t have to go miles away to get their services, to get their prescriptions filled.”

The pharmacy is an extension of the existing Valley Healthcare clinic in Talbot County, which provides family physician care, dental care and now pharmaceutical care. 

Dr. Lang says Valley Healthcare is also working towards providing radiology resources and behavioral care in the future.