For many citizens, the issue of acquiring healthcare is one that is often dictated by the factors of cost and convenience. The high prices charged by many health care providers force many of those in need to reconsider seeking treatment. Residents of Effingham County may now have an alternative solution.
The Two Rivers Health Clinic is currently serving as a community outreach initiative to provide free medical, optical and dental assistance to uninsured adults in Effingham County who have chronic illnesses.
Any patients must currently be Effingham County residents between the ages of 18 and 64 who are without insurance for the reason seeking care, and at or below 150 percent of the current federal poverty guidelines. They will be seen by appointment only currently two Thursday evenings a month from 6-8 p.m. at Dr. Jack Heneisen’s office on Hwy 21 in Rincon.
The clinic specifically focuses on individuals suffering from common illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease that continue to plague many Americans. This focus was initially inspired by members of the Effingham community that recognized a need to address their concerns about the issue of affordable healthcare for those who may be suffering.
One of those concerned was Patricia Adamcak, who serves as the regional coordinator with the Georgia Volunteer Health Care Program in the Georgia Department of Public Health. Her support for the cause helped to spark a partnership in which the program provides the clinic with Sovereign Immunity to all licensed health care practitioner volunteers.
The clinic’s initiative also continues to be additionally supported through a collaborative effort from a variety of other local organizations. These contributors include the Effingham Family Connection, the Effingham Board of Education, MedBank, United Way, Wellcare of Georgia and the Effingham’s Health System’s Community Outreach.
Due to the success of these contributions and the work of a dedicated staff, there already have been 180 patient visits that have taken place. The staff includes two doctors, two nurse practitioners, five nurses and five office workers who have all volunteered. Among these volunteers is Clinic Coordinator Rosemary Alexander.
As clinic coordinator, she is responsible for completing the organizational and administrative tasks within the clinic such as scheduling patient appointments. When asked why she thought that the community of Effingham was deserving of such a resource, she said, “It came to our attention when working with Family Promise how many homeless people there were and there is an extremely high number of uninsured people in Effingham County”.
In order to reduce the problem, the clinic emphasizes community awareness as a top priority and welcomes events to be held at churches and businesses to promote the clinic and provide opportunities for individuals to volunteer and help it grow. Some volunteers have already included health care students from the Effingham College and Career Academy who have served on clinic nights through job-shadowing and having interactions with patients.
In regards to the importance of the assistance, Alexander says, “If we want our clinic to grow we need more providers. Anyone that is interested in volunteering is welcome because there are lots of jobs and a place for anyone to volunteer”.
Two Rivers is now a 501c3 federal tax-exempt status corporation in which it qualifies to accept tax deductible donations. The clinic will celebrate its first anniversary on Oct. 1.