Group Visits Add New Dimension to Care at the Free Clinic

A new way of delivering medical care is making its debut at the Free Clinic.

Dr. Barnes

Dr. Stuart Barnes examines a patient at the Free Clinic.

Group visits with their change in format from the traditional visit have become increasingly popular for many different reasons. Barb Baptista mentions a few that encouraged her to introduce them at the Free Clinic: increasing the capacity of clinics to see more patients, helping motivate changes in patient behavior and habits with the support of others with the same conditions, and providing a fun experience that will also make them feel more like they are a part of their own care.

Dr. Stuart Barnes, volunteer provider and AFC Medical Director will be leading this initiative as well as conducting the group visits.

This program is designed specifically for Anderson Free Clinic patients who have diabetes and have other conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and challenges managing their weight.  By choosing to participate, patients will be asked to:

  • Become a member of a group of four (4) patients and have a short private visit with Dr. Barnes each time
  • This group will meet every other month to address medical and other issues of concern to each individual.
  • Help develop the program for the group as it progresses
  • Decide when they will graduate from the group

Most of the time when patients come in to the clinic, they are ill or have several specific problems that need to be discussed during their appointment. Talking about managing or improving health all together is often hard to fit into these short visits. In the group, there will be more time for

Other advantages for the patients in a group setting include:

–       getting to know each other better and enjoying one another’s company
–       knowing that they are not the only one facing a particular disease or situation
–       learning new information about their condition
–       teaching  others what works for them
–       having an opportunity to ask questions.

Group visits will start with two groups beginning on November 6th, and each group will meet every other month. The group visits will take place at the Free Clinic in the private conference room.  Patients are encouraged to bring a family member or a significant other who has as much interest in their health as they do. The conditions that are being treated in the group visits often run in families.

Since a limited number of group appointments are available, patients are being told about the opportunity and encouraged to discuss it with the provider they are seeing that day. A referral will be made by the provider.


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