Did you know that 32.2% of children under the age of 18 in Chattanooga live below the poverty level? When we look at race, 15% of white children live in poverty, and the percentage worsens to 30.8% of African American and 37.4% of Hispanic children.
This is in Chattanooga! The Gig City, the Scenic City, the Best Town Ever.
The good news is that Jesus loves the poor and has called many individuals, churches, and organizations to respond to this disparity. They have stepped up to offer innovative resources to address this reality.
At LifeSpring, we stand alongside them on the front lines, addressing one of the biggest areas of inequity among the poor - healthcare. For seven years our doors on McCallie Ave have been open delivering compassionate, high-quality, and innovative pediatric care to children in Chattanooga. We are delighted to demonstrate the love of Jesus in this way to all the children and families we serve.
Sixty-five percent of the children we see have TennCare (Medicaid). These families still face many barriers to good health care even when TennCare gives them access to doctors. The lack of reliable transportation has been identified as the number one barrier to care for LifeSpring families.
Another 15% percent of LifeSpring patients have no insurance at all, making the high cost of seeing a doctor and getting regular check-ups a primary barrier to care for these families.
There are things that present as barriers to care that you may not immediately think are related to health disparities. These social determinants of health include many insecurities such as poor access to affordable and nutritious food, sustainable employment and working conditions, and a safe physical or social environment.
A significant percentage of children at LifeSpring are diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as obesity and asthma. Even with available resources, it can be difficult to manage chronic conditions and achieve a healthy lifestyle, but the challenge is multiplied when a family has no access to care or resources.
At LifeSpring, we are devoted to adapting our practice to address the barriers that prevent the children we serve from thriving and growing into healthy adults, body, and soul. Over the next few weeks, we will share how LifeSpring is working to do this and how families are impacted.
It is our great hope that you will partner with us as we seek to demonstrate God’s love for those in need. LifeSpring relies on the partnership of donors like you to care for the children who would otherwise not be able to afford healthcare. It is our goal to raise $50,000 by the end of 2018 to keep up with the influx of patients we are seeing! Your contribution of $175 would cover the average cost per child not covered by insurance. Would you consider giving a financial gift so that we can continue to provide medical care to some of the forgotten, uninsured children in our city?
Dr. Michele Pickett, M.D.