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Free Health Care for the Uninsured Is Coming to Atlanta This Month

Posted Mar 02 2010 12:00am

Volunteers Can Register Now

Georgians struggling with the lack of health insurance will soon get much-needed help when the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) in conjunction with the Georgia Free Clinic Network (GFCN) holds its next C.A.R.E. Clinic at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta on March 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

This will be the sixth in a series of large, mostly one-day C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinics held around the country to bring together physicians and other health care professionals, as well as non-medical volunteers, to serve the needs of thousands of people who might otherwise go without medical care. Since last September, more than 7,000 uninsured patients received treatment at C.A.R.E. Clinics in Houston, New Orleans, Little Rock, Kansas City and Hartford.

“As long as affordable health insurance is not available for everyone, there will be a great need for the work that more than 1,200 free clinics across the country do every day,” NAFC Executive Director Nicole Lamoureux said.

In Georgia, almost 18 percent of the non-elderly residents do not have health insurance.

“We are excited to be able to hold a C.A.R.E. Clinic in Georgia, where the work of free clinics is very much needed,” Donna Looper, executive director of the Georgia Free Clinic Network, said. “A strong network of clinics and other safety-net providers exists throughout the state. Not only will patients receive immediate care at this event, but they also will be connected to this network that can offer them care on an ongoing basis.”

In 2008, free clinics across the nation provided care to about 4 million uninsured people, including 175,000 in Georgia. In 2009, that doubled to about 8 million people, despite a decline in donations. A $1 donation to free clinics typically provides $5 worth of services.

“It is important to note that being uninsured is not the same as being unemployed,” Lamoureux said. “About 83 percent of uninsured people have jobs. At past C.A.R.E. Clinics, we found that many of the patients worked at two or more jobs but did not receive health insurance benefits. Some even worked as nurses or for insurance companies but still did not have insurance themselves.”

Volunteers can register now for shifts between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on March 26, when the clinic will be set up, and between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on March 27.

Medical volunteers needed for the Atlanta clinic include doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, emergency medical technicians, medical administrators, licensed clinical social workers and more. Non-medical volunteers are needed to help with documentation, logistical support, patient intake and translation, as well as to be patient greeters and escorts. Help also is needed for setting up the clinic, as well as breaking it down.

Information for volunteers is available online at http://www.regonline.com/Atlanta_CARE_Clinic , as well as at http://freeclinics.us or http://www.gfcn.org . Those interested in appointments for patients at the clinic may call 1-277-233-5159 to sign up now.

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