Free Health Clinics Medical Care For All Who Need It
Because of the constantly increasing cost of medical care and the large number of people who don’t have insurance, the availability of a free health clinic is vital to the health and well-being of many areas of the United States.
Whether it’s a local walk-in facility that provides after hours urgent care, family quick care, confidential std testing and more or a fully-staffed mobile unit, a neighborhood health clinic serves as a convenient alternative to utilizing the services of a hospital emergency room for relatively minor problems.
The free health clinic provides a welcome relief to those who otherwise would have to deal with long emergency room wait times (an average of 58 minutes in 2009, which was a 25% increase since 2003). And that same year, 78% of those visits were to hospitals that reported having to keep patients waiting in hallways or other places until rooms became available.
Urgent care facilities have sprung up in the last few years to compensate for the fact that fewer than a third of primary care physicians are available after office hours. Some 65% of those have a doctor on site all the time, and wait times for most are less than 15 minutes. But they do cost money, so urgent care facilities don’t take the place of the free health clinic for those patients of limited financial means.
Not all clinics are totally free. There are sliding scale arrangements for those who have income and the ability to pay something for their care. Clinic patients may have some kind of health insurance as well. And financial assistance is sometimes available. Many clinics are government-run, and others are funded by charitable or religious organizations.
In the United States, regardless of your circumstances, health care is available to you. And free health clinics exist as part of the effort to make that care more convenient and affordable.