Auxiliary donation helps RAPCS

Published 10:59 pm Friday, March 11, 2011

Residents of Marengo County will have greater access to free health screenings thanks to the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. In February, the group voted to donate $4,000 to the Rural Assistance Program for Churches and Schools (RAPCS) to help fund the group’s efforts to offer free health screenings, including cholesterol and diabetes, to area residents. A program offered through the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority’s GROWestAL Division, RAPCS provides free health screenings to communities throughout Marengo County.

“We’re always looking for ways assist the hospital and the patients it services,” said Auxiliary President Lloyd Jones, “ and we felt that this program is a perfect opportunity for us to help reach out to those who may not be able to get to the hospital easily.”

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“RAPCS works to improve access to healthcare by establishing outreach healthcare sites throughout the county in schools and churches where people are isolated and without direct access to health care,” explained Marcia Pugh, Division Director of GROWestAL and RAPCS Program Coordinator.

“We’ve also worked to implement a health education campaign that would increase the public awareness of healthcare, and increase the public’s awareness of availability of healthcare services.”

Community donations like that of the BWWMH Auxiliary help to keep the program afloat and help them to reach more patients each month. According to Pugh, this donation is especially important to the program as coronary heart disease is a significant contributor to the nation’s healthcare costs.

“It is estimated that the nation spends over $139 billion in the treatment of heart disease every year,” she explained. “Locally, RAPCS’ investment in managing the care of patients with heart disease will decrease the area’s medical expenditures by $55,469,897.76 over the next 5 years. Comparing the costs of our program with these medical savings, the 5-year return on investment for medical expenditures is $721.41 for every dollar spent — a major benefit to the areas already-fiscally stressed health care system.”

The donation from the Auxiliary will help pay for the necessary glucose and cholesterol test strips and controls for the year and, hopefully, will help to encourage more groups to contribute to the program. “A program of this nature is so important to our area,” Lloyd said, “but, like everything else, the expenses for providing this service are going up and our donation is only a drop in the bucket compared to what it costs to take this program on the road. We hope that other groups will contact the RAPCS program to see how they can help as well.”

For more information regarding the RAPCS Program, contact Pugh at 334-287-2579 or email her at