Health Council statistics show the number of uninsured residents in Bay County is growing substantially. And, for the uninsured facing non-emergency needs, the possibilities for medical care may seem slim to none. As Newschannel 7 learned, the uninsured reality can be especially tough for the young.
"It's very uncomfortable for her and we bandage it up, we put a splint on it, and it's still swollen," Josephine Altmen said, describing her 9-year-old daughter Emily Liford’s arm. She broke her elbow while playing with her brother two weeks ago.
For the last two weeks, her mom has searched medical treatment, but like many others in the same boat, Mrs. Altmen says getting a doctor to accept her low-income status, has been next to impossible.
"Not everyone can become a doctor; it's an absolute, God given gift,” Altmen said. “I believe and anyone that has a gift to heal, comes a responsibility a community responsibility."
Finding affordable medical care is an issue pulling in more and more local residents everyday.
Statistics show the number of uninsured and under insured is growing.
And, in the case of the uninsured in Bay County, the number has increased by close to 25 percent in the past five years.
While this may be substantial, there are some possibilities.
Gulf Coast Medical Center offers a booklet with information on places people like this family can go to, and get medical care. But in the case of this family and many others, the uninsured and the under insured, the issue comes down to availability as much as affordability."
"I just feel like some of the physicians, not all of them, but some of them, have forsaken that duty for money," Altmen said.
Health Council experts expect the number of uninsured residents to continue its increase over the next year.