LEANNE GREGG

The newly unemployed have joined the growing number of people who just don’t know where to turn for medical care. However, the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, has a solution that’s helping un-insured and under-insured patients across the region. The clinic provides services on a sliding fee scale, based on ability to pay.

The Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte subsidizes the clinic and three others like it in the area, with the help of funding from the County. The clinics treat patients who fall within federal poverty guidelines, or those not eligible for Medicaid who have no other form of health insurance.

Patients like Lashika Tillman have been coming to this clinic for months. Tillman first sought medical care when she first knew she was pregnant. Four months after giving birth, she never misses an appointment for her baby.

What’s different about this clinic is that private practice doctors go on call here one month each year to make sure these patients get the same quality health care as their fully insured patients.

“Day in and day out, we see patients that would not have gotten care,” said Dr. Chris Teigland, Chairman of Urology at Carolina Medical Center.

From pediatric services to cancer treatment, these doctors see it all. Clinic Administrator Kristin Wade said the clinic has doctors that specialize in internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and gynecology, among other specialties.

“It’s a very cohesive group of professionals, and I think we are all proud of the work that we do,” said Dr. Jacques Ganem, a urologist.

The focus is preventive care and education to a population that may otherwise crowd emergency rooms seeking treatment. From the indigent to the newly unemployed, residents who qualify are provided with care.

Diagnosed with bladder cancer, one patient had put off seeing a doctor for a year, worried about paying the bill. He was directed to this clinic and pays what he can for treatments.

“It’s been a big relief and a big help whenever you don’t have the money,” the patient, who declined to be identified, said.

The clinic helps people who are concerned about their ability to pay so patients can focus on getting better.