BIFMC’s Response to COVID-19

To Our BIFMC Supporters,
As we encounter an unparalleled moment together, we hope this article finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Please know that we will continue to keep you informed via our website news and social media presence, and we invite you to follow these sources of information for any important community updates. We want to share with you what the Clinic is doing in order to maintain the health and safety of our immediate community, as well as communicate how we may work together going forward to ensure the Clinic’s success in serving uninsured adults across the Barrier Islands and downtown Charleston.

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic has set up telemedicine access for our patients to continue to receive access to quality health care and necessary prescriptions while keeping our patients and volunteers safe. While we are not currently able to see patients in person, we are actively consulting with them over the telephone, writing prescriptions, obtaining non-generic medications and assisting them with the virtual screenings at MUSC and Roper St. Francis for any concerns surrounding COVID-19. Our staff and volunteer nurses are doing a great job fielding patient calls and connecting them with volunteer doctors. We also continue to provide our patients with diabetes monitoring supplies and any other needs they may have until we are back to normal operations. Over the days and weeks to come, we will reassess the CDC guidelines and will re-open our Clinic doors to all as soon as possible.
We are reviewing our previously scheduled visits and will move to accommodate these patients via telephone and video conferencing methods. The IT department at Roper St. Francis has been assisting our volunteer doctors to obtain EMR access on their home laptops so they can safely consult with patients over the telephone, and The National Volunteers in Medicine offices are also working with us to provide better access to telemedicine for patients.

We have been working diligently to stay abreast of the COVID-19 updates while we collaborate with our local hospitals and free clinics. We promised our patients we would be here for them for years to come and our commitment to this mission is stronger than ever. Your long term support of the clinic, along with other generous donors, is allowing us to weather this storm for the foreseeable future, and our gratitude to you is immense.
As we anticipate a surge in our patient population over the coming months – particularly as our own hospitality community confronts new financial uncertainty – we ask you to keep us in mind as you look to ways you can help. All donations can be made securely via http://www.bifmc.org, and we are grateful for any amount you can provide that will better prepare our Clinic to meet the new demands of this unprecedented event.

Those who are able are also encouraged to donate any extra nonperishables or personal hygiene supplies to our Clinic Blessing Box, which is being accessed daily and in great volume. Those interested are asked to please call the clinic in advance at 843-266-9800 to let us know you are heading by and can place any donations at the front door of the Clinic so that we may stock as needed.

Thank you for continuing to support Barrier Islands Medical Clinic; we hope that you and your loved ones keep in good health and that we will all be able to meet up again soon. Not only will it be a truly joyous moment to celebrate with you, but it will also be a true testament to the dedication and bravery of the health care workers across our nation. As always, we are indebted to the medical community who give of themselves to ensure the well being of others, including the many who walk through our clinic doors each week to treat hundreds of uninsured and at-risk adults.

-Submitted by David Dunlap, BIFMC Board Director; Richard Ulmer, MD, Medical Director; Brenda Falls, Clinic Director

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