Hazel Williams loves cooking meals for friends and family. She’s active in her church. And she serves her community as president of the tenant association where she lives.
It’s important to her to live each day to the fullest and to make a positive impact on the lives of others. But it wouldn’t be possible, she said, without the top-notch care she’s received at Spartanburg Medical Center and the support of AccessHealth Spartanburg.
In late 2017, Williams underwent treatment for pneumonia at Spartanburg Medical Center. Like roughly one in six South Carolinians, she lacked health insurance. Hospital staff put her in touch with AccessHealth, which connects uninsured adults in Spartanburg Cherokee counties with medical care and other support needed to improve health outcomes.
“It came into my life like a miracle,” Williams said.
Only a few months after her bout with pneumonia, she suffered a stroke. Unsure about what caused the stroke, doctors had her wear a heart monitor. The monitor revealed an irregular heartbeat – her heart was stopping for up to three seconds at a time. She would need surgery to install a pacemaker.
Through AccessHealth, Williams has since had regular checkups with a primary care physician and receives the heart medication she needs.
“AccessHealth has brought so much support into my life,” she said.
Williams has been a great client, according to AccessHealth social worker Brook Henderson.
“She is engaged and follows her medical guidance,” Henderson said. “Hazel is able to make a positive difference in the community once she was connected to health resources. It’s wonderful to see that impact.”
AccessHealth Spartanburg is a grant-funded program with the Duke Endowment as a major funder. Local funders include the United Way of the Piedmont, the Mary Black Foundation and the Spartanburg Regional Foundation, which accepts donations on behalf of AccessHealth.
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System provides substantial in-kind support.
AccessHealth has a team of nurses to provide screenings and initial health assessment at its North Church Street office. A network of area physicians contributes time and expertise to provide more extensive care for patients in their offices or at St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic and the Middle Tyger Community Center Clinic.
There are nearly 40,000 adults in Spartanburg County without health insurance. Some of these residents lack steady work, while others are employed but don’t have health coverage. Since opening in 2010, AccessHealth has connected more than 10,000 patients to primary care.
Williams said she has much to be grateful for: She has come through a series of medical crises, and she now has support to help her maintain good health.
“I’m going to tell you, I’m like a living testimonial,” she said. “God has valued my life over my death.”
To donate to Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s AccessHealth Spartanburg Fund, visit https://regionalfoundation.com/donate-now/community-health/.