While in high school I decided to become a physician. I didn’t think about how I would fund my education or how I would earn a living. My primary concern was to learn how to care for patients in any surgical situation. I chose a residency program where I felt I would get an intensive, broad surgical experience that would prepare me for being an attending physician. I can honestly say Louisiana State University prepared me in ways I never expected. However, what I took for granted was the way in which we were able to take care of patients regardless of their ability to pay.
The state system of Charity hospitals, although not without its drawbacks, allowed resident physicians with help of attendings to care for the indigent Louisiana population. Many of these patients would not have the ability to obtain healthcare had it not been for these services. As a resident, I never had to dive into the paperwork involved. All I knew is that I had the ability to treat people’s cancer, hernias, or any other surgical issues through sponsored state funding.
I have always felt a Christian and moral duty to help take care of those less fortunate. The We Care Manatee program of Manatee County allows me to care for patients who are uninsured, under insured, or low income without worrying about their ability to pay. As a surgeon, this means that my services are donated to help the greater good. These patients may not be a large part of my practice as I still have a responsibility to pay my staff, however they receive the same time, care, and consideration as any other patient in my office.
We Care Manatee provides access for Manatee County residents to primary care, surgical specialists, pharmaceutical assistance, and access to breast health services. Patients are screened based on their age, insurance status, and income. To see if you or someone you know qualifies for the We Care Manatee program visit www.wecaremanatee.org and look under the tab “for patients”.