Of all the changes Anniston has endured, one constant has been Regional Medical Center’s important role in this region’s welfare.

RMC and its ever-expanding footprint are the cornerstone on which much of Calhoun County’s health care is based. As an employer, both in size and scope, RMC is irreplaceable. Anniston and its neighbors need RMC to be a community leader that guides this part of Alabama toward a better, healthier path.

The community health center that RMC plans to open next year in west Anniston, which hospital officials announced this week, exemplifies that spirit. Local health concerns aren’t limited to Anniston’s western neighborhoods, but it’s no secret that the common ailments plaguing many Alabamians — obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, poor prenatal and pregnancy care — are often worsened by poverty and a lack of access to quality care. West Anniston is home to the city’s lowest median home values and highest concentrations of poverty.

When completed, the RMC health center will join a list of other similar facilities already in Anniston, such as the Anniston Islamic Center’s Salam Free Clinic and the St. Michael’s Medical Clinic. The need for these clinics is too great to worry about over-saturating the market.

We applaud RMC and its board of directors for planning this community health center.