By Dr. Mel J. Colón, International Medical Clinics
Serving the uninsured multicultural community is a labor of love and a passion! That is what makes our clinic different. It is a distinct honor and a privilege to offer high quality, affordable healthcare to the international and minority communities of the greater Atlanta, North Georgia region. We are indeed a one-of-a-kind medical center in the United States.
Very often when patients, physicians, community leaders, pastors, priests, teachers, business people and politicians visit our facility, I tell them that they just left earth and walked onto Mars or Venus. Why?
I explain that earth would be like walking into most clinics or hospitals but IMC is like coming to another planet because we offer healthcare in many languages (i.e. Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Urdu, Romanian, English, etc.), by many physician specialties which include obstetrics, prenatal care, gynecology including the treatment of infertility, Integrative Medicine , foot and leg surgery/podiatry, family medicine, internal medicine, urgent care/minor emergencies, occupational medicine/work injuries, pediatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, ear, nose and throat surgery, dematology, individualized natural weight loss programs/M.D. supervised, electrotherapy for the elimination or reduction of acute and chronic painful joint, muscle and nerve problems.
Furthermore, IMC honors, respects and understands each culture and charges affordable fees. We spend a lot more time with each patient, truly listening, explaining everything in more detail and treating each and every person like family! Our dedicated doctors and nurses are available seven days a week. All our physicians are board certified.
The point is that the human resources and environment needs to be dramatically different to fully and properly serve multicultural and minority communities. We are like another planet because it is part of our charter, mission and by-laws that we give back to the community with frequent community health outreach programs that include healthcare lectures to churches, businesses, schools and organizations.
This community works very hard and it can be extremely difficult to come see the physician during the week. Therefore at IMC, we are open, Monday through Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm and sometimes later.
IMC has on-site Diagnostic Ultrasound, Upper and Lower GI series, Echocardiograms, X-ray, MRI, CT scans, Mammography, Lab (Blood tests), EKG, Physical Therapy and Pharmacy. In most traditional clinics, patients generally have to wait a long time to see the physician and then only spend a national average of a few minutes with the doctor. At IMC, it is somewhat the opposite, waiting generally a few minutes and spending more time with the physician.
Our Mission Statement
International Medical Clinics (IMC) has developed a new and uniquely innovative model of healthcare delivery to exclusively serve uninsured and high deductible plan populations. This multi-physician specialty center effectively addresses the healthcare needs of the expanding multicultural uninsured community, one of America’s top ten national concerns. IMC accomplishes this mission by honoring and respecting cultural diversity, conducting ongoing focus groups to identify the needs and issues of different populations, providing substantive and skills-based healthcare education, and offering reduced medical fees. IMC is staffed with multilingual employees (Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Urdu, Romanian, English and more). IMC offers superior care within the context of each patient’s cultural milieu. IMC has developed extensive expertise in international medicine in the United States. Using the highest professional and ethical standards, IMC improves medical care for all patients as it becomes an integral part of the international community.
We are affiliated with a wide array of cultural organizations, associations, clubs, chambers of commerce, and faith based organizations.
Issues International Medical Clinics address:
Ethnic and racial minorities tend to receive lower-quality health care than whites do, even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable. Minorities are less likely than other Americans to get potentially life saving screening tests such as mammograms and Pap smears, flu and pneumonia vaccines, as well as to take their children for check-ups. Differences in treating heart disease, cancer, and diabetes partly contribute to higher death rates for minorities. Disparities in the health care delivered to racial and ethnic minorities are real and are associated with worse health outcomes. This trend is unacceptable. The real challenge for IMC lies not in debating whether disparities exist, but in developing and implementing strategies to reduce and eliminate them.
Health Literacy is defined as the degree to which people can obtain, process and understand basic health information (e.g. following prescriptions and post operative instructions, etc.) and services they need to make appropriate healthcare decisions. For the 90 million Americans with limited literacy skills, it is difficult to read materials as simple as the front page of a newspaper or a bus schedule much less the complicated documents that go along with medical care in our country today. We believe that quality health care depends on patients who are active participants in their own care, and low health literacy robs them of that opportunity. Improving health literacy can dramatically reduce health disparities. Health literacy can save lives, money, and the health and well being of millions of Americans.
IMC is most interested in receiving meaningful input from the multicultural community specifically presenting potential community health projects that our board of directors may consider.