Health fair raises awareness for community health centers

Area centers offer low-cost treatments
Ellen Rampersaud, 89, of Augusta speaks with Robert Campbell of Christ Community Health Services of Augusta after a health fair at Henry Brigham Community Center.

 

Tinnie Hannah uses the Henry H. Brigham Community Center every day to exercise and socialize.

When she learned that Christ Community Health Services and Medical Associates Plus at Belle Terrace were presenting a joint health fair there Friday, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

“I enjoy health fairs. I always get into that,” she said.

Hannah took advantage of the eye exam and blood pressure and blood sugar checks, and then settled in to listen to a panel discussion about medication use.

This week is National Health Center Week, and the fair was a joint effort between the two local federally-funded community health centers to raise awareness about who they are and what they do.

“We put on the health fair to spotlight not just our two health centers, but all of the resources that are available in the community for folks who need health care, whether they have insurance or not,” said Ron Skenes, the director of communications and development for Christ Community Health Services. “We just want to make that known, if someone is looking for those resources or know someone who needs those resources, what’s available and how to access it.”

Both centers offer medical care at rates that begin at $25 and are based on a sliding fee scale.

When open enrollment begins in October for the Affordable Care Act, more people will have access to health insurance. Community health centers will be there to continue to serve those who can’t afford it, said Jeff Drake, the CEO of Christ Community Health Services.

“The expectation is there will be more opportunity than ever for coverage, but it will still come down to whether or not it’s affordable,” he said.

There may also be problems finding health care, as many doctors have stopped taking Medicare and Medicaid.

“These insurances that are most likely coming into the marketplaces (as a result of Obamacare) are going to pay similar to Medicare and Medicaid, so (health care providers) may choose not to accept those insurances, so there will still be an access problem,” Drake said.

For those who need help understanding more aboutthe Affordable Care Act, Medical Associates Plus will have people who can answer questions and walk them through the process, as well as apply for Medicaid on site, said marketing and operations director Adam Butler.

At Friday’s fair, health care vendors offered information about their services along with health checks.

Dr. Angela Overstreet-Wright from Medical Associates Plus, Dr. Robert Campbell from Christ Community Health Services and Gayle Rivers, a pharmacist at Walgreens, participated in a panel discussion in which they answered questions about medications, blood pressure and diabetes.

Susie Smith wanted more information about Metformin.

Diagnosed more than a year ago with Type II diabetes, she is taking the blood sugar medication and wanted to know what it does.

“Now I know what Metformin does. It keeps (my blood sugar) under control. I understand that a lot better,” she said.

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