The question of affordable and accessible healthcare has long been a source of national contention. Whether for or opposed to universal healthcare and the diverse opinions in between, the fact remains that many citizens don’t have a clear answer when the question of medical care and where to get it is asked.
A trip to the doctor’s office for a cold that won’t go away or to refill a much-needed prescription can be as easy as making an appointment and forking over the $15 for a co-pay. For those without insurance, the options become much more fraught. The average uninsured doctor’s visit can run a patient anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on what’s needed. Labs, x-rays and prescriptions can quickly add up. Many Americans struggle to afford the care they need or forego it altogether.
Reliable health insurance and access to quality medical care go beyond the convenience of drive-through pharmacies and telehealth appointments. The ability to treat chronic illness, get sick and then get better in a timely fashion also contributes to an overall better quality of life.
According to the 2019 U.S. Census on health insurance, 11.3% of North Carolina residents were uninsured, which hovered just above the national average. With over one million residents without health care coverage, North Carolina — the ninth largest state by population — is ranked as the tenth highest in the country for its uninsured rate.
While some resources are available across the state for those without a safety net, in Cumberland County and surrounding areas, one major source of help comes from the Care Clinic and the services it provides to people below the poverty line. The Care Clinic opened its doors in 1993 and has operated under one mission throughout its twenty-eight years of service: “to provide free, quality healthcare to the low-income, uninsured adults of Cumberland and bordering counties.”
Relying primarily on volunteers, the Care Clinic provides basic primary care, dental extractions, specialty services, diabetic care, orthopedics, physical therapy, nutrition, and an in-house pharmacy. The clinic is open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and every second and fourth Wednesday. Clients are seen by appointment only, on a space available basis.
All medical staff on duty tend to their patients out of a sense of duty and a belief that all people, no matter their socioeconomic status, deserve access to quality healthcare. However, access does come at a cost, and events like the Charity Golf Tournament are tremendously helpful in covering that cost.
The Care Clinic will host its 28th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at Gates Four Golf & Country Club on Friday, Sept. 9.
After 27 years, The Tournament is an event locals look forward to every year. A tradition began with the clinic’s opening in 1993; the friendly competition never fails to draw a crowd of enthusiastic golfers and avid supporters of the Care Clinic’s altruism.
“We have a lot of dedicated fans who look forward to it every year,” Tara Martin, Director of Development and Marketing for the Care Clinic, shared with Up & Coming Weekly. “[People] who want to support our mission and have some fun. It’s great to get people who love golf and spread the word about the clinic — mixing fun with business and charity.”
The tournament is set up as Captain’s Choice, with check-in at 9:30 a.m., and a shotgun start at 11. Players can also participate in the Hole-In-One Contest, Closest to The Hole, a putting contest, and a unique spin on poker that could potentially put a little cash in the player’s pockets. Each player will also receive $100 of “Gates Four Bucks” to spend in the Pro-Shop.
Participation in the tournament is open to everyone and designed for single players and groups. Registration is $300 for a single player and $1000 for groups of four.
Those who want to participate but don’t necessarily want to golf are welcome to sponsor a Fort Bragg soldier for the single player registration fee or sponsor a group of four at the group rate.
After the tournament, participants will be treated to dinner and awards under the pavilion. Though the words “charity event” might trigger alarm bells of boredom, Martin credits the event’s popularity with its relaxed, positive attitude.
“I think this is an opportunity [for people] to get outside the office and interact with people they’ve known for years and meet some fresh new faces,” she explained. “We always want to connect with the community, so it’s nice to see people come every year and get to know each other and do something fun and relaxing outside.”
Though it’s a fun event with a long history and lots of community love, Martin wants to keep the clinic’s mission and the community it serves firmly at the forefront of the day’s festivities. It’s important to Martin that people understand a single job transition can lead to the uncertainty their clientele feel daily.
“There’s such a huge need,” she said. “The people we serve could be your neighbors; a single change in jobs can lead to a hard time, and you could lose your insurance. It’s scary not to rely on your medical outlets; we want to be a source of comfort and care for people who need that extra hand.”
Gates Four Golf & Country Club is located at 6775 Irongate Drive in Fayetteville.
For information on registration and sponsorship packages, visit https://the-care-clinic-annual-golf-charity.square.site/.
For more information about The Care Clinic, visit www.thecareclinic.org/ or call 910-485-0555.