Smith Medical Clinic | Serving patients without insurance who make Georgetown County 'a great place to live'
It might be the cook at your favorite restaurant. The waitress who went out of her way to make sure your meal was perfect. Or the clerk at the convenience store who is so nice every morning when you stop for coffee.
At a glance
Purpose | Provide complete medical care to low-income, uninsured Georgetown County residents
Founded | 1985
Where | Two locations: 99 Baskerville Drive, Pawleys Island; 1101 Highmarket St., Georgetown
Volunteers | 200
Patients | 2,100 a year
These are some of the area residents – those without health insurance or the ability to pay for treatment – who Smith Medical Clinic is helping to keep healthy.
“Our patients are the people who make Georgetown County a great place to live,” said Anne Faul, executive director of Smith Medical Clinic. “They are working – they are working hard. They just don’t have health insurance.”
A partner with Tidelands Health through Tidelands Community Care Network, Smith Medical Clinic provides free medical care for low-income, uninsured residents of Georgetown County. The clinic provides health care that is crucial for Tidelands Community Care Network to achieve its goal of helping uninsured adults in Georgetown, Horry and surrounding counties access timely medical care.
Many of the patients at Smith Medical Clinic have delayed seeking care because they don’t have a means to pay, Faul said, so their conditions have gotten worse. Some delay care for so long that they end up in the hospital emergency department.
That’s a scenario that Smith Medical Clinic and Tidelands Health are working to prevent.
“Residents can get the right care at the right place at the right time – not in the emergency department,” Faul said.
The clinic has been providing free medical care in the area since 1985 through the generosity of volunteer doctors and nurses – including many from Tidelands Health. The health system also provides financial support for the clinic.
Dr. Cathcart Smith and his wife, Nancy, started the clinic in an 8-foot-wide trailer with equipment from his former medical office, five retired doctors and a dozen nurses – all volunteering their time and skills to help those in their community.
Today, Smith Medical Clinic has two locations – one in Georgetown, another in Pawleys Island – and provides medical care to roughly 2,100 residents a year for less than $250 per patient.
Smith Medical Clinic is one of about 25 partners in the Tidelands Community Care Network, which was created by Tidelands Health in partnership with Access Health SC and The Duke Endowment. The network is comprised of health educators, state agencies, transportation providers, primary and specialty care providers and others who can help uninsured residents have access to medical care.
In addition to providing primary care, Smith Medical Clinic offers access to specialists not available through other TCCN partners, including neurologists.
“We could not achieve our mission of helping uninsured residents access the medical care they need without the services provided by Smith Medical Clinic and its network of skilled and generous volunteers,” said Linda Bonesteel, director of community health resources for Tidelands Health. “Our missions align so closely that it’s natural we team up to help as many residents as possible live better lives through better health.”
Tidelands Health works closely with Smith Medical Clinic, providing lab services and tests for patients, offering specialty services such as wound care and giving other support for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. About 70 percent of patients at Smith Medical have three or more chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
And Smith Medical Clinic refers patients to Tidelands Community Care Network, where coordinators help them develop an overall care plan that could include finding financial assistance and accessing specialty care. They also help the patients overcome barriers in seeking health care, such as transportation to medical offices for appointments and access to medications.
Smith Medical Clinic aims to get area residents – including many you probably encounter in your daily routine – back on track living a more healthy life.
“I always want people to feel like if they support Smith Medical Clinic, they are really supporting their community,” Faul said.