Tri-County Project Care, a not-for-profit relief agency that has served more than 3,000 clients since 2001, is opening its membership to qualified uninsured workers and small businesses with three or more employees.

Anyone who is an uninsured worker in the counties of Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester without access to government or commercial insurance, may qualify for enrollment in Tri-County Project Care's not-for-profit relief program.

"Without Tri-County Project Care, my children would not have a mother today," says Susan Morris, a TCPC participant. "Five years ago, I was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive Stage IV breast cancer. I had no health insurance because my job didn't offer it, and it was financially impossible for me to insure myself. Tri-County Project Care began coverage immediately despite my pre-existing condition and treated me like a family member. Now I'm a breast cancer survivor."

Dr. Robert "Casey" Fitts started Project Care to be part of the solution to problems he saw daily as a surgeon.

Since then, Project Care has reported more than $30 million in health care services provided over the past six years, a $1,000 per member/per year decrease in hospital charges due to a decrease in ER visits, admissions and length of stay per admission; $800 per member/per year decreases in costs for a member's second year in the program; improved mental well-being and functional status for members; and empowerment of members after one year of enrollment: 17 percent obtained commercial insurance, 10 percent became eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and 5 percent became ineligible because of income increases over 200 percent.

To find out more about Project Care, call 388-9719, or apply for enrollment online at www.tricountyprojectcare.org.