Clinic celebrates 13 years

Staff Report

NEWBERRY — The Free Medical Clinic of Newberry County, Inc. will celebrate 13 years of serving the uninsured in Newberry County on Nov. 30.

The clinic was opened for business in 2004 by a small group of individuals including Bobby Summer, Dr. Eugene Epting and other volunteers. The volunteer physicians, practitioners, nurses and other medical staff have been dedicated to providing quality health care since 2004. That year the clinic had only 35 patient visits. Last year, the clinic had 1,100 patient visits bringing the total number of patient medical visits since 2004 through 2017 to 23,162.

Since the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, free clinics continue to provide charity care as a member of the safety net. After full implementation of the ACA, there are as many as 30 million people who are still without access to health insurance, according to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

The clinic continues to see an increase in the number of patients seeking medical care, seeing many patients who signed up under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act only to return to the clinic when they cannot afford to pay such costs as out-of-pocket expenses, high deductibles and increasing premiums. The eligibility poverty level has been increased to 194% in order to serve more individuals in need of health care.

The estimated value of direct services/procedures provided by the clinic in the previous calendar year is $665,769. However, this figure does not include labs, x-rays, hospital stays, etc. that were provided at no charge to patients. Medications that were provided in 2016 totaled $478,800. In-direct services provided to clinic patients totaled $1,588,719 bringing the total amount of services provided to $2,254,488. The clinic supports a healthy lifestyle and provides a medical home with referrals to specialists such as oncologists, dentists, ophthalmologists, cardiologists and surgeons.

The 13 year celebration and fourth annual silent auction will be held at Enoree River Vineyards from 6-9 p.m. Admission is $25 and includes one wine tasting, bidding on items, music provided by local artists and light hors d’oeuvres. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the clinic or from any board member.

For more information, please contact the clinic. Checks for memorials/donations/honorariums should be mailed to the clinic at P.O. Box 783, Newberry, SC 29108.

Staff Report