Earlier this year, Dr. Tom Phelps and the Tracy City Free Medical Clinic received a grant from the South Cumberland Community Fund with the aim of testing for, treating, and curing Hepatitis C across the Plateau. Hepatitis C is prevalent in this area, with Grundy County reported to be one of the most highly vulnerable counties in the state. When patients are treated early, before symptoms begin to show, health outcomes are vastly improved, and the risk of further spreading the disease throughout the community is greatly reduced.
Testing for Hepatitis C can be extremely costly for those who are uninsured—around $450—and a treatment course is even more expensive, around $20,000. An upcoming partnership with Alyssa Summers and the diagnostics lab at the University of the South will bring the cost of each test down as low as $45. Through strategic partnerships, Phelps has been working to secure free treatment for all those who test positive, multiplying the financial impact of SCCF grant dollars by around 400 times the initial funding.
Phelps and his team have sponsored free testing for the public and for those incarcerated in Grundy County Jail, a population that is disproportionately affected by the disease. A total of 69 tests have been administered so far with 39 of those tests producing a positive result, underlining the enormous need that this project is beginning to fill.
Phelps’s work is just one of the many ways SCCF is partnering with our community to make tangible change in the lives of those who reside on the Plateau. If you would like to support our mission and help fund more projects like this, please consider a donnation today!