Behind the Scenes — Small Town Family Medicine

I recently read an article titled Uninsured? Where you can find medical help between now and 2014.  It was written by Andy Miller, a healthcare writer.

The article caught my interest because several stories were about people from Tennessee including a lady from Lenoir City that cleans houses for a living. This 43 year old woman had not had a mammogram in three years or seen a dentist in six years because she hasno health insurance. 

We hear the same stories every day from people in Morgan County.   We know many sick people won’t see a doctor because they don’t have insurance.  If it gets too bad they go to the Emergency Room, but that is even more expensive and is not good care because they are not seeing a doctor on a regular basis - only in a crisis.

The article discussed that most healthcare reform help won't arrive until 2014, but in the meantime, people without health insurance have some options for medical services.

They discussed RETAIL CLINICS like Walgreens and CVS pharmacy that charge $60 to $75 per visit, according to the Convenient Care Association. Patients at these clinics are seen generally for problems like strep throat, sinus infections and minor injuries and see nurse practitioners for primary care.  

In some communities people have the option of going to a COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER. Morgan County Medical Center is a Community Health Center.  It is federally funded to help provide primary and preventive care in Morgan County where there is a shortage of providers. Services at a community health center are not free, but patients are charged a sliding-scale fee based on income.

The article stated that community health centers "do an outstanding job”.  We have seen an increase in patients over the last yearand many of them are chronically ill and not just suffering from a cold or sinus infection.  We hope that they agree that we are “doing an outstanding job” to meet their needs.   

Theresa Brock is the Administrator of the Morgan County Medical Center and President of the Morgan County Health Council.