Promoting Healthier Lives

We usually think of Blue Cross Blue Shield as insurance, but the Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina Foundation deals with other health-related matters.

Foundation Executive Director Erika Kirby was in Laurens yesterday updating the Laurens Rotary Club with information on the work the foundation is involved with across South Carolina.

She said that key areas the foundation is involved with include free medical clinics around the state, such as the Good Sheppard Free Medical Clinic here in Laurens County. Kirby said Good Sheppard sees some 1,800 patients a year and is one of 45 clinics across the state that address health needs of some 41,000 residents, providing free health care with an estimated value of about $500 million a year.

Erika Kirby said the foundation also assists Federally Qualified Health Care centers and is also working to improve dental health for South Carolina residents.

She also spoke of the foundation’s concern with the rise of suicide across the country in recent years and said South Carolina has had one of the more significant increases in suicide.

Ms. Kirby said the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation also works with some 30 Eat Smart, Move More programs across the state. One of those is operating here in Laurens County.

She also told about grants the foundation is offering for schools, assisting them as they innovate programs to encourage students to choose healthier foods to eat and to get more physical activity, needed for good health. Here in Laurens County, Ms. Kirby said that School District 56 has won a $25,000 grant to help fund programs to encourage healthier eating and more physical activity by students in all five District 56 Schools.