Reprinted with permission of The Pilot

Free Care Clinic Receives Grant From Pinehurst Surgical

BY CLAUDIA WATSON: SPECIAL TO THE PILOT

Moore Free Care Clinic has received a $10,000 gift from Pinehurst Surgical physicians that will be used to support its chronic disease management program.

"Pinehurst Surgical's generous contribution has a tremendous impact on our operations," says Laura Tremper-Jones, executive director of Moore Free Care Clinic. "It allows us to provide careful monitoring of our patients' medications so that their chronic diseases do not become progressive and they can stay out of the emergency room and the hospital."

This is the fourth year that Pinehurst Surgical, a multi-specialty surgical practice, has made the substantial gift to Moore Free Care Clinic, according to Dr. Stanley C. Cox III, president of Pinehurst Surgical.

"Moore Free Care Clinic is performing an excellent service in our community," he says. "There are nearly 47 million people in the U.S. who lack health insurance coverage of any kind. Everywhere you turn, discussions are taking place about how to fix the troubled state of our health care system. This free clinic underscores the need for more cooperative community efforts of this type to help those who are so vulnerable."

According to Cox, Pinehurst Surgical physicians provide specialty care to Moore Free Care Clinic patients with referrals.

"We see the need in our offices daily," he says. "The immensity of the uninsured problem is growing. We are not sure how, or when, the system will change, but we are committed to helping our neighbors in need."

According to Tremper-Jones, the clinic has more than 1,500 registered patients and an active case load of nearly 600 patients. Most of the patients suffer from chronic disease, typically diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, high cholesterol, obesity or smoking addiction -- and many suffer from multiple health problems.

The clinic provides health care to county residents, ages 18-64, who are without health insurance and who are the least able to afford health care. To ensure that its resources are directed most effectively in meeting these needs, it has criteria that are used to admit people to its programs.

The person must be a resident of Moore County and must not have any private or public health insurance plan, and must be considered limited-income as established by the 2007 Federal Poverty Guideline.

Moore Free Care Clinic, which opened in April 2004, provides services to those at or below 150 percent of the guideline. For instance, an individual with an income at or below $15,315, or a family of four with an income at or below $30,975, would qualify for assistance. U.S. citizenship in not a criterion for services at Moore Free Care Clinic.

The clinic provides high-quality primary, preventive and mental health care and prescription medications.

Medications are provided either through financial assistance from the clinic, or temporarily with samples, but, for the most part, the clinic enrolls its patients into the prescription assistance programs offered by the pharmaceutical companies.

The clinic has established specialty clinics for: chronic disease management, cardiology, orthopedic, ENT (ear, nose and throat), physical therapy, ophthalmology, dental and mental health. In special circumstances, it arranges for referrals to off-site care, such as the specialty care supplied by Pinehurst Surgical and other health care providers in the area. The free clinic also provides resource information, health education and focused laboratory and radiology tests.

Moore Free Care Clinic is a registered tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation. It does not receive any federal or state funds and is dependent upon the generosity of the community to serve the needs of the limited-income uninsured. Donations can be mailed to Moore Free Care Clinic, P.O. Box 161, Pinehurst, NC 28370.

Anyone needing more information about Moore Free Care Clinic can visit its Web site at www.moorefreecare.org or call 910-947-6550.

Claudia Watson is a Pinehurst freelance writer and may be contacted at cwatson87@nc.rr.com.