2018-03-12 / Front Page

Free clinic for uninsured seniors now available two days a week

Ledger Staff Writer

The doctor is in.

A free medical clinic is available for uninsured county residents Thursday and Friday each week at Senior Centers of Cherokee County. The senior center has partnered with Drs. Robert Kaemmerlen and Andras Koser and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) to provide the clinics.

Appointments are required. The clinic operates Thursday from 6 until 9 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m

The senior center has converted space which will be used as two exam rooms to provide a permanent space where residents without health insurance can receive health care onsite. The health clinic is funded through grants, equipment donated by Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, and volunteer hours donated by area doctors.

“We thought this health clinic would be a great community service,” Senior Centers of Cherokee County Executive Director Amy Turner said. “It has been beneficial to our senior residents by providing them with one-on-one consultation with doctors on site. Our residents are able to get help with exercising, nutrition and diabetes education to help them stay healthy. The clinic offers a way for the under-insured to have access to health care.”

The senior centers recently became a member of the South Carolina Free Clinic Association.

The clinic’s mission is to provide quality healthcare at no cost to residents of the community who cannot pay for these type of services.

The local facility became involved two years ago when VCOM and its partners expressed an interest in establishing a new weekly clinic here.

VCOM previously operated a free health clinic for Spanish-speaking residents at Iglesia de La Roca in Gaffney. Now church pastor Antonio Duarte serves as translator and takes the residents to the senior center, located at 499 W. Rutledge Ave.

“We have seen the health clinic continue to grow over the past two years,” program coordinator Libby Cheek said. “In 2017, the clinic had 254 unduplicated patients and 637 appointments. We would like to see if more local doctors would be willing to donate their time so we could expand the hours of the health clinic. This would allow the health clinic to be open for more hours.”

Senior Centers of Cherokee County hopes to add a network of specialty physicians in the coming months so health clinic patients could be referred for specialty care.

For more information, call (864) 514-3141.

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