Clinic reaches milestones in 2016
September 21, 2016
At certain points in 2016, the Northern Neck – Middlesex Free Health Clinic (NNMFHC) will fill its 500,000th prescription and host its 150,000th patient visit.
The NNMFHC began 23 years ago when low-income residents in the Northern Neck and Middlesex County could not find or afford a medical provider. The Clinic operated one night a week to help ease the strain on emergency rooms and provide health care to those who otherwise would not receive it. Operations grew to five days a week when the Clinic built its first home, in 1996, and now are held five days and two evenings a week through its Medical Clinic, Dental Clinic, and Pharmacy.
Today, even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thousands of people with low incomes and inadequate insurance still have no access to health care and couldn’t afford it if they did. The NNMFHC provides the access and the care, and keeps services free or affordable.
The primary difference between then (1993) and now (2016) is scale. Where the Clinic budget began at $25,000 per year, it is now $1.3 million. Where before only medical and some pharmacy services were available, there is now a Medical Clinic, Dental Clinic, Pharmacy, behavioral health services, four locations, and two outreaches. Where before the income eligibility cut-off was 100% of the federal poverty level, it is now 200% for medical services and 300% for dental care.
Last year the NNMFHC expanded its eligibility screening hours to accommodate the increasing demand for services. With the ACA, people with very low incomes – below 138% of the federal poverty level – are told they were ineligible for marketplace insurance and to seek care at free clinic facilities. Those with incomes between 138% and 200% often found they could not meet thousands of dollars in deductibles that came with their plans. Those needing dental care were still uncovered through the ACA.
Those with costly medicines who may have their own provider still cannot afford their prescriptions.
These are the sort of gaps that the NNMFHC fills to keep the community healthy and provide continuity of care. Since 1993 at the Clinic there have been:
13,500 unduplicated individuals served
143,624 patient visits
325,957 volunteer hours
486,140 prescriptions filled
The Clinic delivered $7,068,793 worth of health-care services during 2015, bringing the total value of care since its founding to more than $82 million.
“The Clinic’s role in the community is undeniable and crucial to the well-being of so many people,” said Board President John O’Shaughnessy. “Without the Clinic many would have gone without care and their health would have suffered. Instead, they’ve found a health-care home.
“Delivering these millions of dollars in services relies on community volunteers and community donations. With so much broken in the health-care field, this clinic model is effective and it works well. Your support of it is needed and deeply appreciated.”
Donations may be made to the NNMFHC at P.O. Box 1694, Kilmarnock VA 22482.