Athens Free Healthcare Demand Outweighs the Supply

Athens, GA–The huge demand for free health care exceeds what clinics in Athens are able to provide to their patients.

Clinics in Athens-Clarke county like the Athens Nurses Clinic provide services to people in Athens without health insurance and who are considered the working poor–people below 150% of the federal poverty level. These places are family practice clinics only–meaning they can’t treat you if you broke your leg or need surgery.

The people at Athens Nurses Clinic see as many people as they can–averaging 24 patients a day. But that isn’t enough. They have to turn away people daily because they just don’t have the time and space to care for them.

Paige Mercer Cummings, the Executive Director for the Athens Nurses Clinic says, “Right now in Athens Clarke county there are not enough clinics, family practice doctors, or community centers to see 7,000 brand new Medicaid patients if we had the expanded Medicaid, which is a part of healthcare reform.”

The Athens Nurse Clinic functions from some paid staff and a lot of volunteers. Cayla Miller is a full-time intern with the clinic. She says the patients own management of their illness and the lack of access to care are two factors that prevent effective treatment.

“You just see so many cases that are mismanaged–and they would be much better managed and much better off if they had access to a doctor, like, once every six months,” Miller says.

Clinics in this part of Georgia are so busy because they provide services to over five counties. Despite their small availability, patients highly recommend them.

They are always looking for volunteers at the clinic, and you don’t need any medical experience to do so. If you are interested in being a volunteer, e-mail Executive Director Paige M. Cummings at paige@athensnursesclinic.org

 

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