A longtime Eastern Kentucky health activist is unsure what the federal healthcare overhaul will mean for a clinic she started. For forty years, Hall’s Mud Creek Clinic in Grethel, a rural community roughly 20 miles from Pikeville, has weathered hard times.
In the 80s, it was the target of an unsolved arson. The community rallied to raise the funds for repair, and to this day, the clinic operates in five locations and continues its mission: To provide Appalachia’s poorest residents with health care and dental services they can afford.
"We still have people who don't have enough to meet their needs," said Hall. "These are good people, these are honest people, hard workin' people, when they were able. But you know, they're disadvantaged now, and they just don't have the means to meet their needs and stuff, and somebody has to be concerned; somebody has to look out for 'em."
Hall, who is 86, says that things are better in Appalachia than when she started, but she is concerned that growing income inequality in America is leaving too many of her patients behind.
She says she is uncertain about the effects that the Affordable Care Act will have on her clinic, but is certain about why healthcare costs are so high.
“I think it’s just people wantin’ to make a lot of money ... I think healthcare is one of the most expensive things people have to live with. And you know, the sicker you get the more it costs, and you still have the same income. And it’s, it’s terrible.”
Hall’s story will be told in full in a new biography, “Mud Creek Medicine: The Life of Eula Hall and the Fight for Appalachia,” written by Pikeville native Kiran Bhatraju , due out this month. Bhatraju says that proceeds of his book will go toward funding the clinic.