LaFayette Residents Finding OnMed Telehealth Station a Great Option in Health Care
by Mike Clardy
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — LaFayette, Alabama was smaller than DeAnne Benedict remembered when she moved home from Birmingham three years ago. Many businesses had closed or moved away, but it was the hospital — where her mother once served as a pharmacist — that left the largest void in the community when it closed years ago.
“Moving back here, we realized that it would be a definite challenge to find adequate health care away from UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and all the great care provided in that area,” Benedict said.
Until recently, LaFayette residents needing minor urgent care had few options. Their best involved a 25 mile drive to a clinic or emergency room in Valley or Opelika.
Now, a partnership among the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University Outreach, the city, county and others has made affordable and accessible care available in the heart of town through an OnMed telehealth station, located inside the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center.
Benedict had the unfortunate opportunity to test the convenience and caliber of the station this summer when she suffered a dog bite while out on a walk.
“Out of fear of it becoming infected, I decided to take advantage of this wonderful OnMed location to see if I needed to pursue further treatment,” Benedict said. “I arrived on the day of my injury, and the doctor in the OnMed station evaluated me and prescribed medication. It was very convenient.”
The telehealth station opened in March 2023. Advertising, social media posts and simple word-of-mouth publicity has helped make residents aware of how close by affordable care is.
“When we first started this project we of course wanted to help increase the health of our citizens,” said Chambers County Extension Coordinator Rachel Snoddy. “We wanted to meet a need, increase the healthcare access here in LaFayette and Chambers County as a whole. And we’ve done that.”
The OnMed station fits perfectly into Alabama Extension’s goal of improving the lives of the state’s residents, and it is opening doors to new opportunities.
“I’ve been seeing a new audience that Extension hasn’t really been involved with in this county,” Snoddy said. “Being able to share other things that Extension can do with these people is so rewarding because they are getting exposed to so much more of Extension’s programs.”
“This is an example of how Alabama Extension really cares about the people of Alabama,” Benedict said. “They care about the whole person, and they want to reach every facet of the community.”
Find out more about the telehealth partnership and other Alabama Extension initiatives at aces.edu.
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