At 6 a.m. Friday, doors opened for a two-day clinic event providing free medical, vision, and dental care to uninsured adults in the Upstate. The event is being held at the Carolina First convention center in Greenville.
Melanie Matney, Executive Director of AccessHealth SC says organizers are expecting more than 1,600 patients over two days. As of early Friday, local media reported hundreds were already waiting in line before doors opened.
We expect to see about 1,600 patients total for both days, but we do expect a much larger turnout of people because of the marketing of the event, and because of just the exponential need for people to receive services.
“SC Mission 2010” is being hosted by South Carolina Hospital Association, along with SC Optometric Association and AccessHealth SC–which is funded by the Duke Endowment to help healthcare providers across the state track and give more South Carolinians access to medical care. SC Dental Association is hosting the dental aspect of the event, called “Dental Access Days.”
About 500 volunteers–including physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacy and lab specialists, medical and nursing students, and lay persons–are gearing up for the event, which is also partnering with qualified clinics to encourage follow-up care.
To determine what types of services would be most needed at the event, Matney says they had to do some research:
We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to see, and so we took the top primary care treatable diagnoses for people who were seen in the Upstate emergency departments and used those as a gauge to see what types of things we were going to see here.
At the same time, the crew is preparing for the unexpected. For example, while the event is geared toward adults, because services are more readily available for children, Matney still assumes children will be present with their parents.
We are marketing it for adults–low-income, uninsured adults–but we expect that there will potentially also be some children who might come with their parents who also need services, and we’re trying to be prepared to see those children as well. Although, the primary target is not children.
In addition to medical, vision, and dental care, other services such as behavioral health, sexually transmitted disease counseling, and patient education on the most common chronic health conidtions will be available.
The event will be open until 6 pm tonight/Friday, and will re-open from 6 am to about 3 pm Saturday.