Free healthcare clinic in Effingham Co. in need of more providers

Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 5:28 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A health clinic here in Effingham County is helping some adults get the care they need.

The executive director says they’re growing, but with more patients coming in, there’s a need for more healthcare providers.

“We really believe that healthcare is a basic need, along with food and housing and those kinds of things.”

Non-profit Two Rivers health clinic provides free medical care to uninsured adults in the county.

The executive director says to receive service…patients must be in certain income brackets.

“The last estimate was that there were about 10,000 people in Effingham County that were uninsured, and we’ve had a lot of new patients come in this year,” said Amber Fordham, the Two Rivers executive director

The clinic says they try to meet many needs…especially with chronic conditions.

“If people don’t have healthcare, then they can’t be productive citizens. They can’t go out and maintain a job, they can’t care for their families, those types of things.”

Right now, they have three part-time paid staff but it’s mostly run by around 25 volunteers…many being healthcare providers.

“We have to be able to provide the nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners that we need to be able to see the patients that are coming in.”

There’s two clinics per month…every second and fourth Thursday.

Two Rivers says they’re adding another clinic day starting in September and hopes for a fourth in January.

The executive director says they treat around five to 10 patients every clinic day but that number is growing.

So far this year, they say there have been around 20 new patients. Two Rivers says they’re only taking patients by appointment.

New patients have to wait up to a month.

“The challenge is that a lot of healthcare professionals are overworked and have a lot going on themselves.”

Getting more healthcare providers to volunteer, the clinic says they could take walk-ins, lower wait times, and help more people.

“People have value and should be able to have basic needs met, so we want to meet those basic needs.”