Safety-net Clinics: Bridging the Gap in Access to Quality Health Care
By Charles Redding, MedShare CEO & President
Access to quality health care in the U.S. and abroad continues to be elusive for many underserved populations. Catastrophic events like the COVID-19 pandemic and even the recent closure of the Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) continue to highlight the gross inequities and longstanding gaps in service delivery that make it persistently difficult to provide services for those who need them most.
Of course, marginalized communities continue to pay a heavy toll when it comes to accessing affordable care. The recent closure of AMC, in particular, will leave a crater in a community that for over a century depended heavily on this location for services when no other care options may have been available to them. This crater, as is often the case, is attempting to be filled out of necessity by safety-net clinics and other health care providers across the state that are important primary care delivery sites for non-Medicaid insured minority and low-income populations with a high burden of chronic illness.
Given that about 1.4 million Georgians are uninsured and many more are at risk of losing coverage, this safety net — already weakened by the pandemic — is more essential than ever in assuring that all Georgians get an opportunity to lead a healthy life.
MedShare has a longstanding relationship with many of these clinics and continues to support their work through the generous support of our partners such as the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation (GBHCMF). GBHCMF invests in strengthening marginalized communities by providing health care grants to help sustain nonprofit health care providers, which include MedShare and a number of safety-net clinics throughout the state of Georgia.
During the third quarter of 2022, MedShare served 8 diverse Georgia-based safety-net clinics and community organizations. These included organizations such as Area in Need Mission House, based in Stockbridge, GA. Founded in 2015, the organization is dedicated to addressing the needs of individuals, families and children experiencing homelessness in the Metropolitan Atlanta Area. In addition to other services, Area in Need Mission House provides diabetes and blood pressure screening to unhoused individuals and families.
MedShare was also able to serve the Harriet Tubman Women’s Clinic, housed in the Clarkston Community Health Center. The Harriet Tubman Women’s Clinic provides quality care for uninsured women in a welcoming and safe environment and charges no fees for an extensive range of services. Just recently, MedShare was uniquely positioned to support this clinic with a last-minute donation of sterile water from our Primary Care Supply Center, without which the clinic would have been forced to postpone several critical women’s health procedures.
This year alone, thanks to the generous support of GBHCMF, MedShare has provided over $1.3 million in aid impacting over 15,000 people in 26 countries. This aid included over $50,000 of quality, essential medical supplies that went to 29 clinics in the state of Georgia.
MedShare is extremely proud to partner with these frontline health care providers who recognize that access to quality health care is vital to the ability of individuals and communities to thrive. We are committed to expanding the network of clinics that we serve, and thanks to the generosity of our donors like GBHCMF, MedShare will continue to provide quality medical supplies to free and safety-net clinics throughout the United States, free of charge, and support their efforts to provide access to healthcare for all.