By Kathy L. Collins

The Outreach Clinic (formerly known as the Brandon Outreach Clinic) will hold its 2nd Annual Outreach Clinic Tea on Saturday, February 27 from 2-4 p.m. at St. Andrews United Methodist Church located at 3315 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. The event is free to attend, but guests are asked to make a donation at the tea to help support the Outreach Clinic in its efforts to provide healthcare to uninsured residents of Hillsborough County.

Last year’s event was a huge success. Organizers for this year’s tea hope that table hostesses will gather their friends and family and help the Outreach Clinic raise funds so that they can continue to be the safety net for thousands of residents who lack health insurance. Table hostesses can decorate their table in any variety of themes, and there will be prizes for the best table. There will also be door prizes that attendees can win.

Executive Director Deborah Meegan said, “Affordable health insurance is still not affordable for many individuals due to high deductibles and high co-pays. ‘Affordable’ is a very different word for someone who has trouble just paying their monthly bills.”

Meegan added, “The Marketplace is still a hard system for someone to navigate who is not computer literate or who does not understand how to compare over 150 insurance plans. We offer enrollment assistance at the clinic to help educate the public about the market place so they can make informed and educated choices regarding their healthcare options.”

Unfortunately, there is still a high number of uninsured living in Hillsborough County. As a result, the Outreach Clinic is still seeing patients who need help every day.

Meegan explained,”We have seen an increase of patients who are newly discharged from the hospital who are uninsured and have multiple medical issues that need immediate attention, prescription medications and follow up physician visits. Because of an aging baby boomer population, the uninsured patients we are helping at the clinic are sicker and have more complicated medical issues.”

Here is a unique opportunity for anyone in the community to help and support an organization that has been serving those in need for over 25 years. The Outreach Clinic is located at 517 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon.

For more information and to host a table, contact outreachclinictea@gmail.com.