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Picayune clinic responds to health insurance gap

Picayune clinic responds to health insurance gap
Picayune clinic responds to health insurance gap(WLOX)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - Health has been one of the most discussed topics over the last couple of years due to the pandemic.

Many Mississippians rely on medication for their health needs, yet, as of 2019, there is only 12.3% of people in the state who do not have health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

People in Mississippi without health insurance.
People in Mississippi without health insurance.(WLOX)

As far as the state’s coastal counties, 14-17% of those under 65 are without health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Coastal residents under 65 are without health insurance.
Coastal residents under 65 are without health insurance.(WLOX)

Jameye Martin has been a registered nurse in Picayune for more than 40 years.

Martin said that she noticed the lack of health resources in the area, which is why she started the Manna Ministries health clinic in 2005.

“The heart behind opening the medical clinic is because I wanted people to have access to quality care and have access to the medications that they’ve needed,” she said.

However, Martin said that there’s a large need for health insurance in the community due to the lack of jobs that provide health insurance.

“Our biggest employer is probably the hospital itself along with the school systems. There’s really not a whole lot of industry here in Picayune,” Martin said.

Martin explained that the clinic started the Patient Assistance Program months after it opened to help assist those who are without health insurance.

Qualifications for the program include being a patient of the facility with no health insurance and meeting the required income depending on the pharmaceutical company.

Martin said that Manna Ministries has a team that specifically searches for grants to fund the program.

She also said that the clinic gets medication donations from AmeriCares and Direct Relief International, two nonprofit organizations that focus on finding solutions to health care limitations in poorer communities in the U.S and around the world.

“They’ve came and help us set it up. Direct Relief would give us what they call ‘Hurricane Packs.’ It would be 12 totes full of supplies and medicine that we get from them,” Martin said. “I do have to buy some medications that we can’t get. For example, if a doctor wanted to start their patient on a new medication, then I would have to buy them samples that could support them up to a month.”

The clinic averages between 4,200 and 4,500 clinic visits a year.

Last year, Manna Ministries connected its patients with about $900,000 in free prescriptions.

Martin stresses that you do not have to be a Pearl River County resident to be a part of the Patient Assistance Program.

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