CHARLOTTE – Carolinians 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 North Carolina Association of Free Clinics, holds its next C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic at the Charlotte Convention Center on December 7.
“America's 1,200 free clinics serve as a lifeline to high-quality health care for so many in our country,” NAFC Executive Director Nicole Lamoureux said. “While this year has been historic with the passage of health care reform and the sweeping change in Congress, millions of Americans struggle every day with a cold truth that health care is not affordable or accessible.”
This will be the ninth in a series of large, mostly one-day C.A.R.E. 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 September 2009, more than 10,000 uninsured patients received medical treatment at C.A.R.E. Clinics in Houston, New Orleans (twice), Little Rock, Kansas City, Hartford, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
This free clinic is not just for the sick, but also for anyone who is uninsured and has not seen a doctor recently. All participants will receive preventive primary medical care and be connected to the area’s safety-net providers. In North Carolina, 17 percent of residents do not have health insurance.
“These C.A.R.E. clinics connect the uninsured with safety-net providers such as free clinics, sliding-scale clinics and federally qualified health centers near where they live so that patients can receive regular treatment on an ongoing basis,” Jason Baisden, executive director of North Carolina Association of Free Clinics, said. "Every day in this state, thousands of volunteers and staff work together to provide health care to their fellow citizens and neighbors. This C.A.R.E. Clinic is one way to highlight the amazing work of North Carolina's free clinics."
The one-day clinic is being made possible through support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC), a long-time partner of North Carolina’s free clinics. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina employees will be volunteering at the clinic.
“The multi-year, multi-million dollar collaboration between the BCBSNC Foundation and North Carolina’s free clinics is unprecedented,” Lamoureux said. “We are pleased to be able to partner with both organizations as part of this clinic’s effort to reach as many people possible in the Charlotte area.”
Both medical and non-medical volunteers are needed to participate in this one-day free clinic. Information on the event and how to register is available online at: www.freeclinics.us. Volunteers are needed not only on the day of the event, Dec. 7, but also to help with setup on Dec. 6. Volunteers are needed from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and patient hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Uninsured patients can make appointments by calling 877-233-5159.
Medical volunteers needed for the Charlotte clinic include doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, dentists, 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.
About the National Association of Free Clinics:
The National Association of Free Clinics is the only nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of more than 1,200 free clinics and the people they serve in the United States.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is an effective advocate for the issues and concerns of free clinics, their volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians and other health care professionals, as well as the patients served by free clinics in communities throughout the nation.
For more information about the NAFC and to donate to help support the work of the organization, visit www.freeclinics.us.
About the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics:
The North Carolina Association of Free Clinics, founded in 1998, is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts advocacy, research, public relations, resource development, training and technical assistance on behalf of its member free clinics and the people they serve.