One step forward for South Carolina's uninsured

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT,SC (WTOC) - Healthcare is a top concern with so many people in our country without health insurance.

The Good Neighbor Medical Clinic is a busy place these days as they serve hundreds of people each month that don't have health insurance, helping people like Robert Danner get the medical care and prescriptions they need.

"I am a diabetic on insulin," said Robert Danner.  "I don't have to pay. I come here and they help me with my medications and paying for medications I couldn't really afford."

Honika Plowdenic depends on this clinic as well. She is currently unemployed and is going back to college for her master's degree.

"I have high blood pressure and I couldn't afford my medications and ran out and they told me to come in right away and they paid for my medications for me to get it. Now my blood pressure is a okay," said Honika.

But if it weren't for the Good Neighbor Clinic, Honika says her life would be much different.

"Until I had Dr Gado put me on my prescriptions I don't think I'd be alive honestly, I really don't," said Honika.

They're not alone, officials say 33,000 adults in Beaufort County and 6,000 in Jasper County don't have health insurance.

"It is a growing challenge of how we are going to deliver services that they need," said Sheila Duwal with the Good Neighbor Medical Clinic.

But now, this medical clinic and other health care providers and services in the Beaufort Jasper coalition for AccessHealth will get additional help to make that happen, thanks to the South Carolina Hospital Association who selected them to receive technical assistance and support to establish a care network for the uninsured.

"The underlying goal is to make access 100 percent for everyone and they encourage everyone in that age range to have a primary care home to prevent them from getting ill," said Cindy Coburn Smith with Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Having to go to the emergency room or for a hospital stay.

"Anytime you have routine checkups in your general healthcare, if things can get detected such as chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, these can be detected and the person can be put on medicines that would help them," said Smith.

Through this grant, Beaufort Jasper Coalition for AccessHealth will be looking at the obstacles those with no insurance face like transportation to and from the clinics and how they can better get the word out to them about the services available. After they identify what needs to be done to better serve the uninsured, they will be looking at ways to fund those projects. The group eventually want to set up a network so they can share medical information electronically as well.

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