by Ginger Bellamy, Anna Mata, Julia Floyd, & Mary Beeson
One in six South Carolinians has no health insurance because they cannot afford it. In 2008, AccessHealth South Carolina was formed to assist communities in forming "network of care" to meet the needs of the uninsured and has been steadily expanding its efforts all across South Carolina.
AccessHealth SC's mission is to support communities in creating and sustaining data-driven provider networks of care that would connect clients to medical homes and ensure timely, affordable, high quality healthcare services for low income, uninsured people in South Carolina.
The good news for Horry County is that we now have our own branch of Access Health SC. AccessHealth Horry is here and will soon open its doors to offer much needed services to qualifying citizens of Horry County. “That means Horry County’s adult uninsured citizens may be one step closer to having a better option than the local emergency room for much needed preventative and acute healthcare services” says Roscia Hardee RN, MPH, Director for AccessHealth Horry.
AccessHealth Horry will be open to residents of Horry County with no insurance and whose income falls below 200% of the poverty level. It is a case management/coordination of care organization that will triage patients for possible benefits they may qualify for or may send patients to available network doctors, specialists, hospitals, etc. that will be best serve their individual needs. The Welvista program will be used to assist patients with medications or AccessHealth Horry will help the patient find the best price available for them.
Meeting the medical needs of everyone in the community is a big challenge. However, “AccessHealth Horry is working with AccessHealth SC to develop a system that can provide the continuum of healthcare services people need regardless of job status or income level, from preventive care to managing chronic diseases like diabetes to acute care to medications, in a coordinated, efficient manner” said Hardee.
“The goal of AccessHealth Horry is to make it easier for people in need of assistance get help. With support from the Duke Endowment, AccessHealth SC has announced the selection of Horry County as one of the communities that will receive technical assistance and support to establish local, coordinated networks of care for the low-income uninsured,” explained Hardee.
AccessHealth Horry applied for a grant earlier this year and was awarded in July. Currently, it is funded for 2 years at which time the Duke Endowment will decide whether it will receive further funding. Additional funding comes from in kind donations from members of the AccessHealth Board with representation from Conway Medical Center, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, McLeod-Loris Hospital, Waccamaw Mental Health, Little River Medical Center, Health Care Partners, the Friendship Medical Clinic, SCDHEC, Shoreline Behavioral Health, members of local churches, Careteam, some private practice physicians, Horry County Schools, and local ministers have worked to establish AccessHealth Horry.
Opening day has not yet been confirmed, but we do know that AccessHealth Horry will be open to the public within the next few months. As the organization forms and begins to serve residents in our area, Hardee says that she would like to see it take root and continue to coordinate healthcare for the qualifying uninsured residents of Horry County.