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Helping Hands Free Medical Clinic continues to make impact in Marion County more than 20 years later

Helping Hands Free Medical Clinic continues to make impact in Marion County more than 20 years later

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MARION, S.C. – The Helping Hands Free Medical Clinic was established in 2001 behind the Mullins Nursing Center. More than 20 years later, staff members continue to make an impact in Marion County offering a vast array of healthcare services.

Patients between the age of 18-64 with no health insurance receive free lab, EKG, radiology, urinalysis, medication, dental, wound care and various screenings.

The clinic has offices in Marion and Mullins. It provides basic primary care including regularly scheduled visits and patient education to residents of Marion County.

The two health care facilities help more than 2,500 patients each year thanks to the Marion County Health Foundation’s annual grant.

The site includes a licensed practical nurse and nurse practitioner Schinitra T. Swinney.

“We see patients that don’t have insurance that live in Marion County and we have several services that we provide,” Swinney said. “We provide a wide-range of primary care services. We partner with several agencies that give us supplies that we give to our patients.”

Swinney said she provides the primary care services to patients.

“We do have a large population of patients with hypertension and diabetes and that mirrors the regional and state averages for health conditions,” she said.

Swinney said the clinic is an excellent option for people in need.

“We want to make sure that everyone in the community is aware of our services,” Swinney said. “We know that Marion County is in a precarious situation with under-employment and people that don’t receive health benefits through their jobs. We can be here to provide the services that they need and fill the gap until they’re able to get health coverage.”

Executive Director Tanya M. Hodge said the clinic offers services that residents need and wants the community to know what they have to offer.

“We promote health and wellness, and by accomplishing these actions we can improve the overall quality of life,” Hodge said. “Dr. Parmanand J. Dawani, MD is the founder of this powerful organization and he saw the need and vision to help those whose lives were in distress. While carrying on his vision we have partnered with so many agencies to assist our patients with free healthcare, employment, food insecurities, dental assistance, cancer screenings, and retina exams for our diabetics.”

Hodge said the staff love their patients and are here to encourage and strengthen an opportunity for a platform towards total quality of life.

Marion County Healthcare Foundation Board Chairwoman Victoria Belin said she became interested in Helping Hands Free Medical Clinic back in 2012.

“Helping Hands Free Medical Clinic has been the organization that has connected the uninsured and the underinsured citizens of Marion County to medical services,” Belin said. “The clinic, which is the brainchild of the Marion County Healthcare Foundation was created after the sale of the county’s two former hospitals. The county has improved in some areas but has opportunities in others. It is my hope to be a part of the conversations that will help the healthcare organizations find ways to assist the citizens in Marion County improve their health.”

Vice Chairman Roosevelt Stackhouse said the area was blessed to have the clinic and service.

“Thanks to the dedicated doctors, nurse practitioners and staff, this free clinic delivers exams, medications, tests, and education on self-management techniques for many diseases such as diabetes and hypertension,” he said. “It’s education, along with regular office visits that help decreases the hospitalizations, deaths and most important, helps pull Marion County from the bottom of the ranks of healthcare. Education along with routine office visits and medication compliance is the key to improving the healthcare status of Marion County.”

Dr. James Dedonis has been working with Helping Hands for more than six years. He was a referring provider and sent many hospital discharge patients for continuing care. For nearly two years he has been working as a volunteer physician and said he appreciates very much the hard work of all the staff including other volunteers.

“I find the level of attention to individual patient's needs excellent, including diligent work to remove many roadblocks to primary and advanced care,” he said. “This is one of the most important functions of a free clinic, requiring coordination with pharmacies, state benefit programs, hospital systems, transportation, and family caregivers. It's a blessing to be associated with them.”

The Mullins clinic is open on Monday and Wednesday while the Marion clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To qualify, visitors must be a Marion County resident, 18 years of age or older, not receiving any health insurance and income 200 percent below federal poverty guidelines.

For more information call 843-464-8750 or 843-423-5212.

Helping Hands Free Medical Clinic Services:

Health Education, TB Skin Tests, Labs, EKG and Radiology, Urinalysis, A1C’s, Medications, Flu & HEP A Vaccines, STD Screenings, PAP Smear Exams & Mammograms, Family Planning, a Diabetes & Hypertension Program, Cancer Screenings, Retinopathy & Neuropathy Exams, Screenings for Hearing, Dental Service Assistance, Wound Care Clinic, Cardiology Clinic, COVID-19 tests and referrals.

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Born in Atlantic City; raised in Mullins. Graduated from SC State University, home of the mighty Bulldogs. Editor of the Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise. Loves spending free time with his daughter. Huge sports fan.

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