GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 45 million people lacked health insurance within the last year. A Gautier clinic has been working to provide free medical care to those who need it, but don't have the money to pay for it.
"It is hard for a person who just had heartache and suffering from diabetes."
Willie Casey said it is frightening at times to know he needs medical help, but can't afford the coverage. That's why he is thankful to have found Volunteers in Medicine Gautier eight months ago.
"Without them, I don't know how I would get my medications and be able to make it."
"Most of our patients have high blood pressure, diabetes, cold, cough; we do pretty much anything here," Clinic Manager Amber Lusby said.
The free clinic has been providing medical aid for four years to those who don't have health insurance in Jackson and George Counties. Since opening the doors, the patient count has continued to spike.
"The first day we opened we saw three or four patients, and now we are seeing anywhere from 14 to 17 a day. Right now, we have over 2,500 patients," said Lusby
Clinic Manager Amber Lusby said the patient load grows as more people continue to find themselves without insurance and a good paying job.
"The people who do have jobs, because the insurance has gone so high, they cannot afford the premiums."
Running the clinic is also expensive. Though some funding comes from local churches and non-profit agencies, extra funding is always needed.
"We probably average between $200 and $250 to run the place to help the patients with their healthcare."
The volunteers are calling on people to dig deep in their pockets and donate. They said it doesn't matter if it's $100 or $1, every dollar bit counts.
"You never know when it could be you," said Lusby.
Willie Casey agrees. He said what you give can really help because many people's lives are depending on this place.
"Without these people, people like me will have nowhere else to go, and it is no telling how long we will be able to make it in this world."
Physicians are also needed to volunteer at the clinic. If you would like to donate money or time, please call (228) 497-9713.