Surry County clinic fights to meet growing need for care

Surry County clinic fights to meet growing need for care


SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — A Surry County clinic that helps people in need is hoping to do even more with a boost of state funding. 

 

What You Need To Know

Surry Medical Ministries is a nonprofit clinic that cares for people without medical insurance in Surry County

According to the clinic, the demand for its services is skyrocketing

The clinic just received several hundred thousand dollars in state funding, but it also relies on donations and volunteers to serve the community 

 

Surry Medical Ministries is a nonprofit clinic that cares for people without medical insurance in Surry County. Medical Director David Dixon said the clinic’s goal is to create an infrastructure for marginalized people who don’t have health care and to keep them from falling through the cracks. 

“A high majority of our patients are working hard. They’re working a couple jobs, but for example, they have the work at the local neighbors and then they work somewhere else so they don’t qualify for insurance,” Dixon said. 

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 28 million people did not have health insurance at any point in 2020. At the height of the pandemic last year, 723,000 people in North Carolina became uninsured due to job loss

Surry Medical Ministries typically operates twice a week for three hours a day. According to the clinic, the number of patients it serves has almost doubled since the 2018-2019 year, and patients start knocking on the doors during the clinic’s pre-opening meeting. Dixon said the need for health care in Surry County is astronomical.    

“We’re turning people away. We’re trying to squeeze people in, we’re doing an extra clinic … a week just on the skeletal crew that we have right now, so demand is getting worse,” Dixon said. 

The clinic was just awarded several hundred thousand dollars in state funding. Dixon hopes it will help expand the clinic’s services to meet the need, but that funding is a finite resource. Community donations play a large part in the clinic’s budget. 

When it all gets overwhelming, the clinic’s workers focus on the lives they’ve impacted. Patient Mary Hooker said the clinic helped her get critical mammograms she was missing. 

“At the end of April, we found a lump in my breast. I have been on a roller coaster ride, and if I had not been here, I probably would not have found it,” Hooker said. 

Those testimonies keep Dixon and his team going. 

“To be a part of people’s stories like that is a profound blessing,” Dixon said. 

The clinic is searching for volunteers to help serve the community. More information about how to donate to or volunteer at Surry Medical Ministries is available here



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