RKM hosted twenty-one foreign doctors, mid-wives, nurses and other health care professionals to show them how an indigent and rural population is served with easy access to health care. The chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization Primary Care Providers for Healthy Feliciana, Ginger Hunt, greeted the individuals during a presentation at RKM on Thursday August, 9. The countries represented during the presentation were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
Hunt explained to the group that RKM is operated by the nonprofit organization and have a total of six campuses; four in East Feliciana Parish school clinics, the main campus in Clinton and one small clinic in West Baton Rouge.”RKM began with an idea that everyone have access to a doctor,” said Hunt. “That idea started with Dr. Richard K. Munson. He made sure that no one was turned down for medical services. He was the doctor, he had medicines in house and he provided it all for around $40 a visit.” Dr. Munson is the person for whom RKM is named after and he also donated a building when the clinic opened in 1999. RKM is not a free clinic, Hunt said. “We accept all people, those not covered by Medicaid, Medicare or insurance are charged according to a sliding scale based on their income,” said Hunt. “However we are an open access clinic meaning that today’s work gets done today and we don’t turn people away. If someone comes in and can only pay $1, then we accept that dollar.”
Hunt made the point that the indigent patients are the best at paying for their services, even better than those covered by insurance.Hunt also explained to the group that Louisiana has some of the most-unhealthy people in the United States, and that 19 percent of the children in East Feliciana Parish are considered as obese. “Life styles and a lack of primary care providers, lack of money all effect our people,” said Hunt. “If you don’t have the money to put gas in your car, you don’t have money for a doctor.” ”I want to offer some advice, utilize community gardens to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables,” said Florence Angosomwine, a registered nurse and mid-wife from Ghana. “That has made a difference in my community.”
“That’s what this is all about,” said Barry Lewis, U.S. Department of State English Language Officer. “Our objective is to promote international cooperation on the common challenges facing the global community in preventing, treating and managing chronic and non-communicable diseases such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.” Lewis also stated that New Orleans was selected because of the unique problems that plagues Louisiana. “The group wanted to visit places like New York and Los Angeles, but we decided that they needed to see all aspects of America and what rural communities do to assist their indigent patients.” The group also visited other facilities in Denver, Washington, D.C., and then the group also got to choose three locations in the Midwest.