Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic offers free physicals to uninsured

Jul. 10, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic is offering free physical exams July 17 and 18 for uninsured residents and employees of Sevier County.

The exams, which also include basic laboratory screenings, are made possible through a joint effort with the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. Students from the medical school conduct the physicals under the supervision of faculty.

The physicals also help the uninsured in another way. With over 18,000 patients at the clinic, only a limited number can be seen each day.

"We have a lot of people with no medical insurance in Sevier County, and coming in for the phsyical also gives them the opportunity to get established as a patient," said Ashley Justice, director of fund development for the clinic. "Then if they need to see a doctor, they will be able to get in more quickly."

The clinic, which continually provides medical care for the local uninsured, is open from 8:30-4:30 daily. Free physicals are offered twice a year, usually in January and July. During the two-day period, they generally see about 100 patients, Justice said.

In addition to ETSU's medical students and faculty, a number of community members assist Mountain Hope in their efforts. "We have a wonderful group of about 30 active volunteers. None of this would be possible without them," Justice added.

One of these volunteers is Barbara McGill, who worked as a nurse for 10 years prior to assisting at Mountain Hope.  

"Nobody takes our place," McGill said, explaining that the clinic fills a gap for low-income patients as well as patients who are uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions.

McGill said patients come in for numerous of reasons, with high blood pressure patients and diabetics being the most prevalent.

"It's rewarding work," McGill said. "I enjoy it, and most people are so thankful to have something they can afford it terms of health care."

Anyone interested in volunteering items or time at the clinic should contact Ashley Justice at 865-774-7684 or via eamil at ajustice@mountainhope.org. Visit their webpage at www.mountainhope.org to learn more.

jfrye@themountainpress.com