Know Someone In Need Of Free Health Care?

8:24 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- In 2012 the Free Medical Clinic on Harden Street provided healthcare to 13,000 patients at no cost.

With all that giving, members of the St. Andrews Lutheran Church on Broad River wanted to do a little giving back of their own. Tuesday they presented a $3600 dollar check to the clinic's Executive Director.

"The free clinic provides a little bit of help, a whole lot of hope, for a lot of folks," said Executive Director Dennis Coker.

To be treated at the Free Medical Clinic you must have no health insurance and have a household income below the federal poverty level. Dennis Coker says the non-profit takes it day-to-day giving treatment to those in need.

"These people have gone without healthcare for a period of time and they can't wait, so if you hold back, they're just getting sicker," said Coker.

The free clinic on Harden Street provides primary care and medications, surviving not off tax dollars, but grants and donations. Patient Jessica Rhaney says she's unemployed and looking for work. Without income, she says she's unable to purchase medication from other healthcare providers.

"I don't have insurance," said Rhaney. "So they won't take you? They'll take you but when it's time to get the medicine, that's where get messed up at."

The onsite pharmacy works with twenty drug companies, getting medications for their patient assistance programs. The Free Clinic is also home to 1200 medical volunteers and assists in training med students like Tori Buie.

"Everything is here free. It's good giving back and helping people that can't afford health insurance and I'm just so grateful to be here," said Buie.

With the help of other area hospitals, hundreds of volunteers, and a community, Coker says the Free Clinic brings a little bit of hope to a lot of folks.

"We will just take care of the folks in the community by trying to be careful Stewards of the resources that God provides through great folks and great organizations," said Coker.

The free clinic is always looking for donations and especially more volunteers. You can find more information about their services and how to volunteer or donate on their website: http://www.freemedclinic.org/

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