Bluffton Jasper Volunteers In Medicine will unveil their long-awaited Ridgeland medical clinic during an open house at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in Ridgeland at 11332 N. Jacob Smart Blvd. The Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine provides medical services free of charge to individuals who are without health insurance, live or work in Great Bluffton or Jasper County and qualify based on income.
“Currently, a third of our patients come from Jasper County and of that a large percentage are from Ridgeland,” said Pam Toney, executive director of the Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine. “Our patients find it difficult to get our Bluffton clinic , so this will help with transportation.”
The Ridgeland clinic has always been a part of the overall master plan. Planning began in December 2014, and has been a collaborative effort led by Lisa Hayes, a Liberty Fellow and part of the Aspen Institute. Together with community members in Jasper County and volunteers, Hayes worked out a strategic plan to facilitate the developement of the Ridgeland clinic.
The Ridgeland clinic will initially offer primary care, but patients will also be able to receive gynecological services, cardiology, endocrinology, diabetic care, and nutrition at the Bluffton location.
Thanks to the Hilton Head, Beaufort and Sun City Lions Clubs, the Ridgeland clinic also will offer an ophthalmology exam room. Each Lions Club pledged $5,000 toward a project to completely outfit the eye exam room. The eye care services will be led by Dr. James Kondor and will be available to patients from the Bluffton-based clinic as well. The completion of the exam room and services plan to be available patients by the end of the summer.
“This is especially important for our diabetic patients because at the moment, we have nowhere to send them,” Toney said.
Toney said preparing the Ridgeland clinic has been a community effort affiliated with ACCESS Health of the Lowcountry Med-I-Assist and Pregnancy Center of the Lowcountry. Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine received a $77,500 grant for the clinic’s first year operation and remodeling from the Palmetto Electric Trust.
“This is a dream come true,” Toney said.