In 1993, University Hospital, the Richmond County Health Department and the Richmond County Commission met to discuss ways to improve indigent care in Richmond County. Community leaders were asked to determine the needs of the community to support the developing partnership. As a result, the Partnership for Community Health was formed. It consisted of seven local hospitals, three health departments and representatives from the governmental, business, educational, civic, social service and religious communities.
The Partnership focused on access to care for low income persons, and child health. To assess the needs of the community, the Partnership developed a health assessment and survey. What the health assessment showed was alarming. The health status assessment indicated the 30906 Zip Code area had the greatest need for the Partnership’s help due to the high percentage of the population living in poverty and experiencing major healthcare barriers. In response to the health status assessment and survey results, the CSRA Partnership developed the Neighborhood Improvement Project, INC.
The Neighborhood Improvement Project, Inc. was formed with community partnerships from Belle Terrace Presbyterian Church and other community leaders in 1998. This group organized and planned broad-based community meetings. As a result, the participants defined five areas of need for services. These areas were: 1) access to care for low income, uninsured and underinsured persons; 2) mental health; 3) elder care; 4) family support; and 5) economic development.
The Health Center was originally known as the Belle Terrace Health & Wellness Centers. The first patient was seen in May 1999 on the grounds of Belle Terrace Presbyterian Church. The original location eventually grew to 4,000 square feet before breaking ground on the current 18,500 square foot facility in October 2012. The Belle Terrace Health & Wellness Centers was renamed as Medical Associates Plus (MAP) @ Belle Terrace in 2013. In December 2013, MAP acquired the Wrens Medical Center which is now Medical Associates Plus @ Wrens. The ribbon cutting for MAP @ Belle Terrace was April 2014 and welcomed elected state and local officials to the occasion. Since then, MAP has opened MAP @ Keysville in Keysville, Georgia in December 2015 and welcomed MAP @ Epic Health in April 2016.