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Free health clinic has new home
Amber Fordham
Dr. Amber Fordham, program coordinator for the Two Rivers Health Clinic, in front of their new location at the United Way of Effingham County in Rincon. (Photo by Barbara Augsdorfer.)

By Barbara Augsdorfer, Editor for the Effingham Herald

The free clinic that has been using a local doctor’s office after hours to see patients since 2015 has recently moved to a more permanent location at the United Way, 711 Zittrouer Dr., in Rincon.

Now it needs the public’s help.

Amid the spacious empty rooms, Dr. Amber Fordham hopes to raise enough funds, or receive donations, of just about every item needed by a doctor’s office.

“We have some furniture that was donated from United Way. But obviously all of the medical type stuff, those are things that we either have to purchase or somebody has to sponsor to provide (it),” Fordham explained. “(We need) exam beds, a lab chair, and things to go along with drug labs, medications, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)”. Everything that goes into a doctor’s office -- from cotton balls to syringes, thermometers, gauze and bandages -- all need to be purchased or donated.

Fordham explained that when they used the doctor’s office, they had access to items they needed, but now they need all their own supplies.

The free clinic is open the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 6-8:30 p.m. and serves people who need ongoing care and medications for health issues such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes. The clinic fills a need for people who maybe have a job, but no insurance (or can’t afford insurance) or have insurance, but can’t afford doctor co-pays or medications – even over-the-counter meds such as acetaminophen.

The clinic will see anyone in need by appointment, but, “Our top two diagnoses as far as patients go are diabetes and hypertension,” Fordham said. “So what we do is all of the things like bloodwork, EKG (electrocardiogram) etc. We do those for free to the patient.”

Medications are available from MedBank (also located in the United Way building) where patients can get most medications for free or through patient assistance programs. That’s another advantage for Two Rivers moving to the United Way building – Fordham is able to connect patients with other services they may need such as counseling. They also work with Good Pill ( which is a medication repository that makes unused medications affordable to people who are uninsured or underinsured. (Many prescriptions are available in 90-day supplies for $6.)

“There are people who maybe can pay their electric bill, but now they can’t pay their rent,” said Kim Dennis, area director of the Effingham County United Way. These are people who are barely above the Federal poverty line, so they don’t qualify for Medicaid, but they also don’t make enough money to make ends meet.

For reference, a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in Effingham County rents for around $1,400 per month. (Then figure in food, utilities, clothes, transportation, and child care.) A little bit of math would show that a single parent would have to work one full-time and at least one other part-time job in order to pay that amount each month – if one of those jobs paid at least $14/hour.

People who fall into this category are known as ALICE – Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed – usually people employed as cashiers, food service, childcare workers – also called “working poor.”

According to the United for Alice website ( about 34% of Georgians are in this category. They struggle to pay one essential item, such as rent, then need help to pay for other necessities such as utilities, medicine, or groceries.

Two Rivers Health Clinic aims to help people age 18-64. Now with its own facility, they hope to eventually be open more days and hours.

When asked about people remaining uninsured, or underinsured, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Fordham explained that even with Obamacare, people still may struggle to pay for medications for ongoing health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Fordham said most of their patients don’t have children under 18 that would qualify them for Medicaid, so paying an insurance premium, a doctor office co-pay, and maybe even $10 for a prescription or an over-the-counter medicine would be cost prohibitive.

The clinic has a website – – and is a 501(c)3 non-profit. The clinic is seeking monetary donations through its Go Fund Me site, and also purchased items through its wish list.

For more information about the clinic, or to make an appointment, call 912-527-4984.