In Madison and Morgan Counties
There are many health care services in Madison and Morgan counties for military, civilians and veterans, though implementation of the Affordable Care Act has changed established insurance options. Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on open enrollment for health care coverage under the national Affordable Care Act.
Alabama has two providers that offer plans to its residents. Enroll Alabamacan help walk applicants through the maze of choices.
See the Advertiser Directory in this guide to connect with local hospitals and medical centers, health care centers and health care providers.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE CLINICS AND RESOURCES
A community health center or clinic is customarily the place to go for those who have no health insurance or have limited income or ability to pay medical fees. Such clinics accept most insurance and provide affordable, comprehensive health care by well-trained, professional staff. They also serve those who are uninsured and underinsured, and most are open to making sliding scale payment arrangements based on income and family size.
For a list of county health department clinics in Alabama, visit the Alabama Public Health website and select the “County Health Departments” pulldown tab, then select Madison or Morgan County for the clinics in your area.
The Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama websiteis a good place to start in finding a dentist. Select the “Public” pulldown tab from the home page and select an option under “Current Rosters” to find or verify a dentist or hygienist. You can also seek referrals from people you know who’ve had dental care in the area.
Consider the following to find the best dentist for your needs.
- Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
- Is the dental office close to your home or office?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
- Does the office appear to be clean and well organized?
- Is the staff helpful and friendly?
- What are the financial policies and how is insurance handled?
A good relationship with your dentist is essential to good oral health care, so take your time and choose one that you and your family feel comfortable with.
The Oral Health Office of Alabama Public Health can give you tips for oral health and low-cost dental care. Visit its websitefor more information.
Finding a Local Doctor
The best rule in finding a health care provider in a new location is the sooner, the better. Personal referrals from friends or other medical personnel can help. Building trust with a health care provider takes time, so don’t wait until a family member is ill to find a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care provider.
Keep in mind the following tips and questions as you look for a health care provider.
- Ask health insurance plans and medical offices for information on their doctors’ training and experience.
- Use AMA Resources for Patients, the American Medical Association’s free physicians’ information service at www.ama-assn.org.
- Has the doctor completed several years of training in a specialty and passed an exam? Check out the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org, call 866-275-2267 or write to the ABMS, 353 N. Clark St., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60654.
- Has anyone registered a complaint or taken disciplinary action against the doctor? To find out, visit the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners & Medical Licensure Commissionwebsite or call 334-242-4166.
Call the doctor’s office and ask for an appointment. Most doctors will take time to meet potential patients, but you should expect a nominal fee for the use of his or her time.
When you meet a doctor and the staff for the first time, consider the following: When scheduling the appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt and professional? Did he or she take time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold too long? Did the receptionist seem knowledgeable about the workings of the office? When you arrived, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions? Did you have to wait long in the exam room before the doctor arrived? Was the exam room orderly and clean, with a chair for a family member to sit in? When the doctor arrived and introduced himself or herself, was it with a smile? Did the doctor seem rushed or tired? Did you get a good first impression? Did you feel comfortable revealing personal information? During the consultation, did nurses or assistants pop in and out? Did the doctor leave the room during your conversation? Did the doctor seem caring, compassionate and sympathetic to your concerns?
Treat finding a doctor as seriously as looking for a new job or a new home. Depending on the length of time you will be in the area, this relationship is a long-term commitment, and you want to be comfortable with the person who will see you while you are most vulnerable.
Veterans in Madison and Morgan counties are served within the Veterans Integrated Service Network 7 (VISN 7) — the Southeast VA Health Care Network — with the nearest major medical center in Birmingham, about 90 minutes from Redstone Arsenal. VISN 7 serves about 500,000 veterans each year with nine medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics throughout Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The closest community outpatient clinic is in Huntsville.
Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Southeast Network (VISN7)
3700 Crestwood Parkway, Suite 500
Duluth, GA 30096 678-924-5700
VA Suicide Lifeline 800-273-8255
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs operates two service offices in the area:
Madison County Service Office
115-B Washington St.
Huntsville, AL 35801
Morgan County Service Office
Morgan County Courthouse
302 Lee St. NE, First Floor
Decatur, AL 35602
The Department of Veterans Affairs improves the quality of life for Alabama’s veterans, military and their families by increasing awareness and access to appropriate federal, state and local resources. Veterans within the state can receive health care from a variety of facilities including one major medical center, eight community clinics and a veterans home in Madison County. Combat veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after Jan. 28, 2003, are eligible to enroll for enhanced care in the VA health care system for five years from their date of discharge or release. The enrollment period begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active-duty service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date. Veterans, including activated reservists and National Guard members, are eligible if they served on active duty in combat after Nov. 11, 1998, and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/returning_servicemembers.asp.
Madison County Vet Center
415 Church St., Bldg. H, Suite 101
Huntsville, AL 35801
Birmingham VA Medical Center
700 S. 19th St.
Birmingham, AL 35233
The Birmingham VA Medical Center is a 313-bed facility in the historic southside district of the city. The facility provides acute tertiary medical and surgical care to veterans of Alabama and surrounding states. The center provides health care services to eligible veterans in VISN 7.
The medical center serves as a referral center for this population area with 131 operating beds. Recent construction provides state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in all clinical programs. Care is provided in many medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. Most staff physicians have joint appointments with VA and its primary affiliation, the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The BVAMC operates eight community-based outpatient clinics in North Alabama. For a list of clinics, visit www.birmingham.va.gov/about/index.asp.
Huntsville VA Clinic
500 Markaview Drive NW
Huntsville, AL 35805
Because emergencies don’t announce themselves in advance, it’s prudent to know where to go when they happen. Saving minutes in a crisis can mean saving a life. Knowing what services are available, and where, can make all the difference. In life-threatening situations, call 911 immediately and follow dispatcher instructions.
101 Sivley Road
Huntsville, AL 35801
Decatur Morgan Hospital (Decatur campus)
1201 Seventh St. SE
Decatur, AL 35601
Decatur Morgan Hospital (Parkway campus)
1874 Beltline Road
Decatur, AL 35603
Decatur Morgan Hospital (West campus-Behavioral Medicine)
2205 Beltline Road SW
Decatur, AL 35603
8375 Highway 72 W
Madison, AL 35758
Heart Center Inc.
930 Franklin St.
Huntsville, AL 35801
Public Health Care
Alabama Department of Health
201 Monroe St.
Montgomery, AL 36104
The Alabama Department of Public Health is the primary health agency for Alabama. ADPH works to provide caring, high-quality and professional services for the improvement and protection of the public’s health through disease prevention and the assurance of public services regardless of social circumstances or the ability to pay. To that goal, the agency offers more than 100 services statewide by public health professionals to assure that water is safe, children have their immunizations, restaurants are safe and birth certificates are correct — to name just a few.
The department’s main office is in Montgomery. The state is divided into 11 public health areas responsible for developing public health services and programs specific to the needs of each area. County health departments offer a variety of services, including communicable disease investigation and intervention, family planning, immunizations, STD counseling and testing, WIC and nutrition services, women’s health services and more. Services vary by location. For a full list of county health departments, hours of operation and services, visit www.adph.org/administration/Default.asp?id=505. These are the health departments in Madison and Morgan counties:
Madison County Health Department
301 Max Luther Drive NW
Huntsville, AL 35811
Morgan County Health Department
510 Cherry St. NE
Decatur, AL 35601