Overcoming barriers to accessing health care

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly is a group of 80+ community members, community leaders and health professionals, all working together to plan and implement effective strategies to promote wellness in our community. Since our inception, we have recognized the critical role access to health care plays in supporting wellness for everyone in Polk County.

However, health care costs have sky rocketed in recent years and much needed health reform is still young. This means there can still be significant financial and insurance status barriers to accessing health care services.  Those barriers prevent us from going to the doctor, the dentist, or the counselor as often as we should to stay well. In spite of these challenges, we all need to learn to play an active role in managing our health by going to the doctor more often, not just when we are very sick. When we wait too long we miss the opportunity to prevent illness. Getting well is more difficult and more costly than staying well.

Are you experiencing barriers to care? No insurance? High deductible? Can’t find medical, dental, or counseling services that accept Medicaid? Here is a list of health care providers that serve Polk County residents and help break down barriers to care:

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Blue Ridge Community Health Services

  • Nearest locations: Hendersonville and Spindale
  • Medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy
  • Accepts Medicaid
  • Uninsured welcome – discounts slide to $25 per visit.  No one turned away for inability to pay.
  • Call 828-692-4289 to make an appointment

Polk County Health Department

  • 161 Walker Street, Columbus, NC 28722
  • Immunizations, family planning, well child checks for children, communicable diseases and dental services
  • Accepts Medicaid
  • Uninsured welcome
  • Call 828-894-8271 to make an appointment

Polk Wellness Center

  • 155 West Mills Street, Columbus Commons, Suites: 201/202, Columbus, NC 28722
  • Medical and behavioral health services
  • Accepts Medicaid
  • Uninsured welcome
  • Call 828-894-2222 to make an appointment

The Free Clinics of Henderson County

  • 841 Case Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
  • Pharmacy (at St. Luke’s Hospital) and case management services in Polk County
  • Accepts the uninsured
  • Call 828-697-8422 for more information

Note: Contact private medical providers in Polk County directly to learn if they accept Medicaid.

Get well!  Keep well!

PF3 invites you to get involved.  To join PF3, our sole membership requirement is an interest in promoting wellness in Polk County. Our next general meeting is scheduled for noon, Thursday May 28 in the Community Room of the Polk County Library. Please join us!

If you would like more information or would like to become a member of PF3, contact us at http://www.polkfitfreshandfriendly.org/contact-us.html.


Milton Butterworth is the director of Community Engagement for Blue Ridge Community Health Services (BRCHS) with affordable high quality health care locations in Hendersonville, Brevard, Spindale and Arden. BRCHS has been active with Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly for several years and serves approximately 1,000 Polk County residents.