JEFFERSON-Last weekend, the Ashe Free Medical Clinic hosted the Sixth Annual Festival of Tables, a tribute that put some of the county’s most creative ideas on display for the world to see.
The event raised money to help the clinic provide medical care to some of the poorest people in Ashe County. Here’s what you need to know.
Pretty things on display for a great cause
That’s the idea behind the Festival of Tables, according to Nancy Kautz, a member of the Ashe Free Medical Clinic’s Board of Directors. The fundraiser was started six years ago by the women of West Jefferson United Methodist Church as a fundraiser for the clinic. Kautz and company took over the planning and hosting of the event three years ago when the church decided to step away.
Jack and the beanstalk
Got a great idea? Showcase your creativity by decorating tables around a theme and inviting your friends and family to come check them out. The event generates revenue through ticket sales – at $50 a piece – and proceeds from an auction. This year, a “Jack and the Beanstalk” design, complete with a castle at the top, was on display, and 90-year old Anita Yates, converted a century old blouse once owned by her mother along with handmade roses to deck out her entry.
That’s the average amount the event raises each year for the free medical clinic, according to Kautz. This year’s event featured 16 different tables.
At least 400
That’s the number of people currently served by the Ashe Free Medical Clinic, and that’s a number that hasn’t appreciably declined in recent years, despite the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Why? State leaders have stood firm on their decision not to expand Medicaid, which could have expanded coverage for some of the state’s poorest residents. Clinics like the one in Ashe act as a primary care provider for people without access to care.
Catching problems before they get worse
That’s one of the clinics primary missions Kautz said. One of the Ashe Free Medical Clinic’s primary goals is to act as case managers for its patients. By treating patients with chronic diseases early and often, the clinic can head off problems before they become more painful – and more expensive. The idea is to keep low-income patients from developing problems that will ultimately force them into an expensive emergency room stay, Kautz said.
Expensive test procedures? The clinic covers that
X-rays, and MRIs are just a few of the costly tests the clinic picks up the tab for in many cases, according to Kautz. The clinic gets a break if those tests are performed at Ashe Memorial Hospital, she said, but the clinic still has to subsidize many of the lifesaving tests its patients need. “You can’t not order a test because a patient is poor,” Kautz said. “That’s just not acceptable. So the clinic pays for those things in instances when patients can’t.”
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