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BlueCross Foundation Grants $775,000 to Support Free Medical and Prescription Services for the Uninsured

February 15, 2006

Columbia, S.C. -- The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation recently awarded $775,000 in grants to help strengthen and expand free medical and prescription services to the uninsured and underinsured across South Carolina.

Recipients are the South Carolina Free Medical Clinic Association, a statewide organization headquartered in Camden, S.C.; Communicare, a statewide organization that provides prescription medications to the low-wage uninsured, headquartered in Columbia, S.C.; Rosa Clark Medical Clinic, Seneca, S.C.; Samaritan Health Clinic of Pickens County, Pickens, S.C.; the Free Medical Clinic, Inc., Columbia, S.C.; Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy, Conway, S.C.; Good Samaritan Medical Clinic, Chester, S.C.

"Individuals who cannot afford health insurance coverage can still have access to appropriate care provided by free health clinics," said Foundation Director George Johnson. "We are pleased to be able to fund better access to healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured and to help limit one of the cost drivers of premiums for the insured – that is the use of hospitals for non-emergency care by the uninsured."

"Many clinics across our state are facing huge fund-raising challenges due to the sluggish economy and unemployment," said Susan Witkowski, project director of the South Carolina Free Medical Clinic Association. "These grants will provide the additional support needed to meet ongoing challenges free health clinics face on a daily basis."

The South Carolina Free Medical Association was awarded $50,000 to support operations, and $200,000 to establish free medical clinic services in counties currently having no free medical clinics.

Communicare was awarded $125,000 for a project to educate and enroll patients in targeted, underserved rural areas who are unaware of its services.

A total of $400,000 was awarded to the Rosa Clark Medical Clinic serving OconeeCounty, the Samaritan Health Clinic serving Pickens County, the Free Medical Clinic in Columbia serving the Midlands, the Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy serving Horry County, and the Good Samaritan Medical Clinic serving Chester County.

Headquartered in Columbia, the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is a philanthropic affiliate of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. It was created to identify and help solve South Carolinians’ health problems, with special emphasis on access, affordability and quality of healthcare. The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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