A coalition of 16 Lowcountry healthcare providers has received a half-million dollar grant from the Duke Endowment to create a medical system designed to coordinate services for low-income uninsured residents in Beaufort and Jasper counties.
AccessHealth Lowcountry Network will serve as a clearinghouse for patients who have no regular medical provider and often bounce from one facility to another, losing continuity of care. Under the new system, patients would be referred to a “medical home” where they would have access to a primary care team able to provide preventative screenings, treatment of chronic disease and management of their medications.
Those requiring specialized care or other social services, including vocational rehabilitation, pregnancy counseling or help with alcohol or drug abuse, would be referred to participating partners.
“This is not a bricks and mortar project,” said Cindy Coburn-Smith of Beaufort Memorial Hospital, the administrative leader of the project. “We’re creating a system that will allow us to communicate with each other so we’re not duplicating services.”
Some 33,000 low-income residents in Beaufort County and 6,000 residents in Jasper County are uninsured.
Last month, Duke awarded $500,000 to AccessHealth Lowcountry Network through BMH to be dispersed over two years. The funding will be used to hire staff and purchase software that will allow participating healthcare partners access to patients’ medical records.
BMH is expected to have the system operational by the summer. In time, administrators hope to add more providers to the network.