There are many health care services in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties for military, civilians and veterans, though implementation of the Affordable Care Act has changed established insurance options. Visit www.healthcare.gov for information on open enrollment for health care coverage under the national Affordable Care Act. Local agents can help walk applicants through the maze of choices; visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov.
See the Military Buyer’s Guide to connect with local hospitals and medical centers, health care centers and health care providers.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE CLINICS AND RESOURCES
A community health center or clinic is customarily the place to go for those who have no health insurance or have limited income or ability to pay medical fees. Such clinics accept most insurance and provide affordable, comprehensive health care by well-trained, professional staff. They also serve those who are uninsured and underinsured, and most are open to making sliding scale payment arrangements based on income and family size.
For a full list of community health centers in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association website at www.scphca.org and select “Health Centers.”
The South Carolina Board of Dentistry webpage, www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/dentistry, provides a list of dentists within the state. Click on its “Licensee Lookup” link, then search for a dentist, hygienist and more by city or by name. You can also seek referrals from people you know who’ve had dental care in the area.
Consider the following to find the best dentist for your needs.
- Are the dentist’s office hours convenient for your schedule?
- Is the dental office close to your home or office?
- How are dental emergencies handled?
- Does the office appear to be clean and well organized?
- Is the staff helpful and friendly?
- What are the dental office’s financial policies and how is insurance handled?
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control provides tips for oral health, guidance for dentists and more at www.scdhec.gov/health/oral-health.
FINDING A LOCAL DOCTOR
Before you arrive at your new assignment, you can check the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners’ webpage at www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/medical. You can use the “Licensee Lookup” link to search for a provider by city or name. This should give you a preview of the local medical practitioners as well as where you might need to go for specialized care.
Personal referrals from friends or other medical personnel can add to your options.
You can check a doctor’s certification at the American Board of Medical Specialties at www.abms.org. To see if anyone has registered a complaint or taken disciplinary action against the doctor, search the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners’ reports at www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/medical/index.asp?file=finalorders.htm or call 803-896-4500. When you have selected a health care provider, consider the following.
- When you scheduled your appointment, was the receptionist friendly, prompt and professional? Did he or she take time to answer your questions? Were you left on hold too long?
- When you arrived for your appointment, were you greeted promptly? Was the reception area clean and comfortable? Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions?
- Did you have to wait long in the exam room before the doctor arrived? Was the exam room orderly and clean, with a chair for a family member?
- When the doctor arrived and introduced himself or herself, did he or she seem rushed or tired? Did you get a good first impression?
- During the consultation, did nurses or assistants pop in and out? Did the doctor seem caring, compassionate and sympathetic to your concerns? Did you feel comfortable revealing personal information? Did the doctor rush through the meeting?
Treat finding a doctor as seriously as looking for a new job or a new home. You want to be comfortable with the person who will see you while you are most vulnerable.