Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rural health clinic in impoverished Tennessee that served all, even if they couldn't pay, to close

A health clinic that serves 1,000 patients in impoverished rural Tennessee will close its doors on Jan. 1, 2016, Ken Steadman reports for the Crossville Chronicle. The clinic's only doctor is retiring because of poor health, and no other doctor has stepped forward to take over the practice. Dr. Harold Lowe, medical director, and his wife Diana, executive director, started the Rural Health Clinic in August 2006 with 43 patients, most of them uninsured or underinsured adults. The clinic provides low-cost office visits, patient education, labs, X-rays, prescription assistance and more, with no one turned away, even if they are unable to pay. Most of the residents are from Crossville, (Best Places map) where 24.6 percent of residents had income below the 2013 poverty level, compared to 13.5 percent statewide, according to City-Data.

Many of the patients suffer from chronic conditions "such as diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory conditions requiring long-term medications and other medical supplies," Steadman writes. The clinic has been able to stay in business because of state grants and donations from local businesses, community organizations, churches, state grants, corporations and individuals, as well as a finance program from the United Fund of Cumberland County. Also, "the clinic's healthcare providers and patient advocates were able to obtain medications directly from pharmaceutical companies at no cost to the patient." (Read more)

No comments: