For the third consecutive year, a two-day event in Columbia will provide free medical care to people in need in the Midlands.
SC Mission 2013 will offer medical services ranging from urgent care to the diagnosis of acute and chronic conditions.
Participants can sign up for Welvista to receive free prescription medication.
There will also be eye care that includes exams and glasses.
And for the first time free pap smears will be offered.
SC Mission spokeswoman Shalama Jackson says doctors who treated women last year were stunned to learn that more than 50% never had the exam, and she says a physician with Lexington Medical Center, Dr. P-D Bullard, felt it should be offered this year.
“What we normally do is done that day and then we refer patients to free medical clinics,” Jackson explains. “We try to tie them to 'medical homes' so that this isn't the only place that they go.
“But with pap smears, you need that continuous care right from the same physician. So he and Lexington Medical Center have agreed to take ownership of those patients so that if there needs to be some follow-up care, he will be able to that kind of thing.”
Jackson says one service that won't be offered this year is dental care, but she says the South Carolina Dental Association will hold Dental Access Days in North Charleston later this month.
SC Mission 2013 will run Friday at the State Fairgrounds from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m, and then again Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last year, the event recorded more than 2,700 patient encounters over two days, involving more than 1,500 clinic and non-clinical volunteers.