Emerson Goodwin is a good man with a good heart (despite the occasional bad boy persona he succumbs to on the back of his R1100RT BMW motorcycle)!
Last fall, Goodwin arrived on the Western Kentucky scene from Bentonville, Arkansas to survey the lay of the land in terms of opening a health and wellness clinic as part of his company’s outreach to this market. Goodwin works for ARcare, a regional nonprofit community health company. ARcare operates 34 primary care centers, mostly in Arkansas. But Emerson Goodwin is part of a team with the goal of helping the company expand in Western Kentucky.
Now, ARcare has opened three clinics in Western Kentucky under the name of KentuckyCare, and will be opening its fourth clinic in Barlow in September.
“As a community health center,” says Goodwin, “we serve everyone regardless of their ability to pay. We serve as a safety net not just in terms of income, but also for access.” KentuckyCare now consists of clinics in Carlisle County along with two locations in Paducah/McCracken County.
“I was so very inspired by the leadership of Dr. Steven Collier, the CEO of ARcare,” Goodwin adds. “The first time I heard him talk about looking out for the least, the last, and the lost, I was sold. And when the leadership of ARcare was looking for someone to investigate the opportunity in Western Kentucky, I told them I would go take a look.” Goodwin liked what he saw.
In October 2014, he and his wife made the move to a community that he said embraced their mission and where he witnessed a significant need for the services that KentuckyCare seeks to provide.
“There is such a huge need here,” Goodwin explains, “that when I went back to the home office, I told the ARcare team that I was ready to cast my lot in Paducah and do something special here.”
Goodwin saw a shortage of primary care physicians in the area and concluded that KentuckyCare would be a welcome resource for those who often don’t have accessibility to consistent medical care. And Goodwin is quick to add that it’s not just about a proverbial band-aid for those in need of medical attention. “We want very much to work towards providing resources, information, instruction, and support to help people to not only get better but to stay healthy. We have already begun to try and create programs and special outreach projects that help people to better understand how to live a healthier life.”
One of those special projects was the KentuckyCare Shoe N 4 Kids. The clinic organized a “shoe drive” to secure new athletic shoes for at risk children so they would have the proper footwear for exercise. “That’s where Paducah Bank became a wonderful partner. The bank’s locations served as drop-off points for our shoe donations. The idea is to encourage youth and families to take steps toward improving their health through regular exercise. It was really gratifying to see so many people get involved in the project, and we were able to provide 303 pairs of sneakers to kids who we now hope will get out and get physical.”
This summer, KentuckyCare is partnering with the Housing Authority of Paducah making weekly visits to some of Paducah’s low-income housing communities on Wellness Wednesdays. “The idea again is to promote a healthy way of life and to provide some basic screenings that we can do on site. Many of these simple measurements, like blood pressure checks, can provide information that allows us to intercept a medical problem before it becomes serious.”
Goodwin hopes to expand the availability of KentuckyCare clinics in the near future to provide greater ease of access for people throughout the Purchase Area. “We are here to serve the needs of our friends and neighbors no matter what their financial situation or their insurance coverage. This is care for those who need it. We believe that everyone deserves the chance for a happy, healthy life, and KentuckyCare is here to make that a reality.”
Pictured left to right, Greg Kingston APRN; John Brazzell, M.D.; Darrye Jackson, APRN; Emerson Goodwin; Sharon Oakes, RN, BSN; David E. Smith M.D.; David Collins, RPh.