MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(Southern College of Optometry recently announced that as of the close of fiscal year 2011 – 2012, the college’s clinical programs provided $1,043,530 in uncompensated optometric care in the Memphis community, a 44 percent increase over the previous year. Uncompensated care represents a variety of outreach programs geared toward bringing eye care to the local community, as well as care for uninsured or underinsured patients.)--
“This is due in part to our expanded outreach programs, but a steadily rising number of uninsured or underinsured patients have come to us seeking care in the last few years.”
“Since we began tracking these numbers in 2009, our uncompensated care numbers have risen exponentially, with this figure representing a 60 percent increase over two years ago and a 44 percent increase over last year,” said Dr. James Venable, vice president for clinical programs at SCO. “This is due in part to our expanded outreach programs, but a steadily rising number of uninsured or underinsured patients have come to us seeking care in the last few years.”
Approximately 78 percent of SCO’s uncompensated care was provided through professional services in one of the college’s clinical facilities. This included services offered through partnerships with Church Health Center®, the InfantSEE® program, Baptist Outreach Programs®, Memphis City Schools’ Regional Health Clinics and many others. The additional 22 percent is a result of community-based services like community education events and SCO’s preventive screenings program, which provides basic vision screenings to students in Shelby County Schools.
“SCO and The Eye Center are very dedicated to the Memphis community,” Dr. Venable said. “While there are always limits to what an entity can do without compensation, we hope to grow our outreach to provide eye care to even more people in the next year.”
About Southern College of Optometry
Southern College of Optometry was established in Memphis, Tenn., in 1932. SCO is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with nearly 500 students from 40 states. The clinical programs at SCO serve nearly 80,000 patients annually, helping make the college one of the top in the nation for clinical optometric education. SCO’s Community Outreach Program reaches more than 12,000 children through vision screenings provided annually to Shelby County, Tennessee students in public, private and charter schools. For more information on SCO or to donate, please visit www.sco.edu.