Tennessee Clinic Helping Those Without Health Insurance
In political circles debate may still rage about how severe the problem is of those without health insurance in America. But the truth is there are millions of people without health insurance who do not qualify for state or federal programs and cannot otherwise afford medical coverage. And while many debate these issues, there are organizations that do more than just talk about the problem, they step up and do something about it – such as the Good Samaritan Clinic in Tennessee.
10 years ago Blount Memorial Hospital recognized that many of the local residents without affordable medical insurance were using the services of their ER as their primary care facility. The board of directors decided to do something about this and established the Good Samaritan Clinic. The clinic recently celebrated its 10th year of filling the gap for the uninsured and under insured of the community.
Using a sliding scale based on income the clinic provides medical services to those without health insurance for as little as $5.00, and that has not changed over the past ten years. The need was obvious then and still is today, with the clinic seeing over 40,000 patients since its inception.
Board members of the hospital realized going in that creating the clinic for those without health insurance would mean a financial loss to the hospital. They were expecting losses to be about $100,000.00 per year. In reality it has been more like half a million, which is a reflection on just how pervasive the problem with the uninsured is in the State. But administrators still agree it was and is the right thing to do for the community. According to records 60% of those who come to the clinic do not have any kind of health insurance. No one is ever turned away because of their inability to pay.
The Clinic operates as a department of Blount Memorial Hospital. It offers pediatric, family practice and internal medicine care, as well as state of the art laboratories and diagnostics on premises. Wellness and education programs in diabetes, asthma and weight loss are also available.
Administrators with BMH say they are providing a service to their community that cannot be met any other way, and continue to believe in the mission of Good Samaritan. As more and more communities across the nation are talking about what should be done to help the millions without health insurance they should take notice of what is being done in communities like this one.