For longevity: Free medical screenings to be offered for National Health Center Week

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BLOOD DRAWN: From left, Paul Trapani prepares to have his blood drawn by Bridget McCormick, a nurse at Family Health Center in Picayune.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

BLOOD DRAWN: From left, Paul Trapani prepares to have his blood drawn by Bridget McCormick, a nurse at Family Health Center in Picayune.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Beginning August 10, Picayune’s Family Health Center will celebrate National Health Center Week.
According to the website, health centers serve more than 23 million Americans. Health centers “deliver high quality, cost effective, accessible care while serving as critical economic engines helping to power local economies,” the website states.
Picayune’s Family Health Center is an outreach of Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc., Picayune Manager Nigel Burns said. There is also a health center in Lumberton.
“This week provides a way to bring awareness to health centers and their contributions to the United States healthcare system,” Burns said. “Our primary focus is making preventative medications and screenings available without the long wait and higher costs.”
The clinic accepts all major forms of insurance including Medicare and Medicaid, Burns said. They also operate on a sliding system, which is based on a household’s size and income. Some patients can see a physician for as little as $30.
The Picayune Family Health Center is staffed with a medical doctor, a nurse practitioner and two nurses.
“We also provided discounted school activity physicals for $20 and $30 employment screenings,” Burns said. “The center receives government funding and we try to help as many people as we can.”
They clinic also provides discounted injections, birth control and B-12 shots, he said.
“We are a non-profit and are here to help the community,” Burns said. “This is not a free clinic, but you get quality care for less money. Some people don’t make enough to afford private medical insurance thus putting them in the coverage gap.”
A visit to will provide people insight into the organization and the services they provide, Burns said, which includes social services such as teen pregnancy prevention and information about the Affordable Care Act.
There is an optometrist and dental clinic in Hattiesburg and referrals can be written out of the Picayune office, he said.
“We prefer taking appointments, but do accept walk-ins and never turn away a sick child,” Burns said.
Prescriptions are electronically transferred to Medical Center Pharmacy in Picayune, which is a 340 B pharmacy, meaning they receive federal funding and customers don’t have to pay full price for prescriptions, Burns said. However, patients would have to quality under income guidelines.
During the week of August 10 -14, all SEMRHI health centers will offer free medical screenings.
“Screenings are very important,” Burns said. “Our state ranks in the worst with regards to body mass index, hypertension and diabetes. Nothing is going to change will we are more preventative. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The complimentary screenings offered during National Health Center Week include body mass index, prostate exams, rapid HIV testing, blood sugar, hemoglobin and blood pressure.
“It’s an opportunity to see where you stand and be proactive about your health,” Burns said.
The Family Health Center in Picayune is located at 1911 Read Rd. and the Lumberton clinic is located at 598 W. 11th Ave.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Contact staff by phone at 601-251-3500.
For more information about SEMRHI, visit

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