United Way doubling free eye care, dental clinic services

The United Way of the Midlands, in partnership with Lexington County, Lexington Medical Center, Palmetto Health, Providence Hospitals and Richland County, has announced the expansion and rebranding of its free dental and eye clinics in Richland and Lexington counties.

The expansion totals 5,200 feet of newly renovated space in the Richland County Health Department, which will double the clinic’s capacity. Both Richland and Lexington counties donate the office space for these services.

Dr. Tamara Stockton is the United Way's new full-time dentist. (photo provided)

Dr. Tamara Stockton is the United Way’s new full-time dentist. (photo provided)

The clinics, which have served the Midlands for more than 50 years, have also been rebranded as WellPartners to include a new website – WellPartners.org – and other resources to better market services to those eligible to receive care.

“This expansion has been a goal of United Way’s and its partners for a several years,” said Mac Bennett, president and CEO of United Way. “Last year we served 3,947 individuals and we are excited to see this expansion come to fruition so that we can provide quality care to even more people in need.”

Local resident Sheila Campbell said the United Way’s dental clinic allowed her to receive care when she was faced with limited healthcare options.

“I don’t have insurance, but I still like to smile,” she said. “I can’t wait to tell everybody about it. It’s going to be a great help to the community.”

Lexington Medical Center, Palmetto Health and Providence Hospitals financially support WellPartners and have been involved since the project’s inception.

“Lexington Medical Center’s vision has been to provide access to care in the most appropriate setting and to be a good community partner. The WellPartners Dental and Eye Clinic helps us to make that vision a reality,” said Tod Augsburger, president and CEO of Lexington Medical Center. “We look forward to a bright future of caring for the friends and neighbors who will come here.”

“Palmetto Health is proud to work alongside other health care providers and community leaders to ensure that these important health care services reach the people who need them,” said Charles D. Beaman, CEO of Palmetto Health. “Today, we stand united, with a solution that will provide our community with continual access to these services. That’s always been our goal.”

“Providence Hospitals is pleased to offer support to the WellPartners clinic,” said Market CEO Scott Campbell, “Providing dental and vision care for those in need throughout the Midlands is part of the healing mission of Providence.”

Other supporters include a $608,040 grant from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation to purchase new, state-of-the-art equipment as well as Absolute Total Care and Aflac, who have also contributed financially.