Uninsured locals have new resource for affordable healthcare

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 30, 2016

The Picayune Family Health Center is offering free lab work for patients without insurance.
The center is known for helping those in the community who struggle in receiving the healthcare they need, Manager Nigel Burns said.
Patients are charged a minimum of $30 to see a physician, Burns said.
Lab work is free of charge with a $12.50 fee for blood to be drawn, Burns said.
Without the program, patients could pay hundreds of dollars to have those lab results completed and analyzed, he said.
Picayune Family Health Center, a part of the Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc., began this program in November, Burns said.
SMRHI has 17 clinics throughout Southeast Mississippi, he said, all offering services to the uninsured. However, they also accept all major health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.
The Picayune center participates in the Ryan White program, designed to help those living with HIV/AIDS, and has several clinics including dental, vision, and women’s services, Burns said.
To promote women’s health, the center offers free mammograms and pap smears.
In regard to the Affordable Care Act and its goal to help the uninsured procure coverage, Burns said he thinks it has opened doors to help some people, but there are still others in the community who are “falling through the cracks.”
About 40 percent of the center’s patient population is uninsured, he said. SMRHI serves about 40,000 patients a year in their 17 clinics in Southeast Mississippi.
The center can also refer patients to specialists, but oftentimes that can result in issues when specialists don’t accept those who are uninsured, or the cost is exceptionally high. University Medical Center in Jackson and Louisiana State University both have programs for those without insurance, Burns said.
During his two years managing the center, Burns said he is trying to get more involved in the community so that the residents of Pearl River County know what services are available to them. For more information, contact Picayune Family Health Center at 601-251-3500 or visit semrhi.com/clinic/picayune-family-health-center/.
The center is located at 1911 Read Road and is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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About Julia Arenstam

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