Dickson Community Clinic Helps Uninsured, Needs Donations
by Kim Gebbia
DICKSON, Tenn- Recent statistics show that 17%of Tennesseans don't have health insurance, which leaves many with no choice but to crowd emergency rooms and health departments for the most basic medical needs.
But, one mid state clinic is opening its doors to the uninsured and promising to accept every patient that walks through their door. The Dickson Community Clinic is located on the second floor inside the Horizon Medical Center off Highway 70. The Hospital was happy to loan them the space because the clinic helps bear the burden of helping the growing number of uninsured in the county.
56 year old June Cook is one of them. She admits it took a little courage and humility to come to the clinic and ask for help.
"I had a really hard time even getting here because I felt there are other people that needs it worse than I do," said Cook.
But June's story is similar to more than 900,000 Tennesseans. It started with job loss.
"I took an early retirement a few years ago and opened a small day care business, and it survived for about 6 months " said Cook.
A failed business was shortly followed by foreclosure on her home.
"I lost my house and I'm moving in with my daughter," she said.
The personal trouble also left her with physical problems. Cook has extremely high blood pressure, but no way to pay for doctors visits or medication without health insurance.
"So many people just can't afford the money to go to the doctor," said Chrissy Vincent, the clinic's coordinator.
But the volunteers and one paid Nurse Practitioner at the Dickson Community Clinic don't want these patient's money, they want to help the growing number of adults with medical needs and no insurance in the Dickson area. Many of them only recently lost their insurance.
"They were seeing a cardiologist, a neurologist, all of the ologists before they lost health insurance and then they lost it and who do they see?" said Nancy Gray, the Nurse Practitioner for the clinic.
Last year they treated 2100 patients which was 25 percent more than the previous year.
"I am just grateful for it, they are here and they can help me get better and get to work and stuff," said Wojtek Pulchny, a polish immigrant. He said without this clinic he'd have no where to go.
But funds at this clinic are just as tight as the patients they treat. A state grant barely keeps them afloat it's community donations that make it possible.
"We do have a co-pay of 20 dollars, but if they can't pay we won't turn them away," said Vincent. But now this small clinic is asking for its own help-. Without it the health department and emergency rooms would see thousand more patients each year.
June Cook is almost certain she'd be one of them.
"I probably wouldn't have any medication and would end up with a heart attack from my blood pressure," she said.
Several stores in downtown Dickson are donating a portion of their sales to the Community Clinic. Karen's on Henslee Drive is donating 10 percent of its sales. Fussell's Men's Shop and Radio Shack and JuJu's on Main Street are both donating 10 percent of sales through Saturday, May 12.
For more information, including how to make an appointment at the clinic, click here: http://dicksoncommunityclinic.org/aboutus.php