JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A new clinic on Johns Island is offering health care for pregnant women and women with young children.
For some, the clinic is cutting down on a 30 or 40-minute drive.
In the last few weeks, a new Women Infant and Children's, or WIC Clinic, opened on Johns Island and staff said it's already busy.
"We've had an overwhelming response so far," Nicholas Davison, the Public Health Director with DHEC for the Lowcountry region, said. "So starting last week we began offering full services Tuesdays and Thursdays all day."
So far 65 women are taking part in this free program at the Sea Island Comprehensive facility on Johns Island.
The new WIC Clinic will cut down travel time to North Charleston and Mount Pleasant for services. Now Women can drive to Maybank Highway for the closest clinic south of the city in the Lowcountry.
"With a population of 20,000 plus there's certainly a great target audience, and we want to make it as easy as we can for people to get access to healthy nutrition, healthy nutrition services, and education," Davidson said.
The new center offers a range of services at the building, similar to the other 75 clinics in the state.
"It provides services to lower income families, but it also helps our entire community," Davidson said. "If we can have healthier citizens, a healthier population, it will cost less in the long run for all of us."
The goal now is to attract more families to use the services, and let them know it is okay to ask for help.
"Everybody deserves nutritional foods, the education that it takes to be able to eat healthy and provide for your family," Davidson said. "There is nothing wrong with asking for help to provide for your family. That's a good thing."
If you're interested in learning more about this new clinic, DHEC and Sea Island Comprehensive is holding an open house Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Staff will be there to answer questions and learn more about the specific services this location offers, as well as general requirements.
To be eligible, the following general requirements must be met per the Food and Nutrition Service Website:
- Pregnant (during pregnancy and up to six weeks after giving birth, or the end of the pregnancy)
- Postpartum (up to six months after birth, or end of pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (up to infant's first birthday)
- Infants: (up until the infant's first birthday)
- Children: (up until the child's fifth birthday)
- Applicants must have income at or below an income level or standard set by South Carolina agency, or be determined automatically income-eligible based on participation in certain programs.
- The State agency's income standard must be between 100 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines (issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services), but cannot be more than 185 percent of the Federal poverty income guidelines.
Automatic Income Eligibility: Certain applicants can be determined income-eligible for WIC based on their participation in certain programs. These include:
- Eligible to receive SNAP benefits, Medicaid, for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly known as AFDC, Aid to Families with Dependent Children) In which certain family members are eligible to receive Medicaid or TANF, or
- At state agency option, individuals that are eligible to participate in certain other State-administered programs.