Health Team

Visit the doctor, leave with a bag of carrots

The nonprofit Alliance Medical Ministry takes a holistic approach to treating uninsured and under-insured patients. There's an on-site gym, cooking classes and a community garden.

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About two years ago, Sharon Simpson's only option for medical care might have been a hospital emergency room.

Like many uninsured, the 32-year-old didn't qualify for Medicaid and couldn’t afford a co-pay.

“I wasn't working at the time, so I couldn't afford (the) $100, $150 co-pay,” she said.

Now, she goes to Alliance Medical Ministry in Raleigh for health care.

The nonprofit requires that someone in the patient's household be employed, and the patient pays on a sliding scale depending on his or her income.

Visits average $20 to $25.

But the ministry goes beyond basic health care. Dr. Jacque Hicks says it also offers a wellness program. There’s an indoor gym on the property and a community garden.

“We hear every day how people can't believe they can come to the doctor's office and leave with a bag of vegetables or a bag of fresh fruit,” said Dr. Tara Lewis with the ministry.

Tyrone Basden learned how to cook some of those vegetables in the ministry's kitchen.

“I took the cooking class, and I liked it,” he said. “I learned a lot of things about eating healthy.”

A healthier lifestyle and help with medication has brought his high blood pressure under control.

Alliance Medical Ministry has been serving Wake County residents since 2003. It is supported by local hospitals and corporate and private donations.



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