When the COVID-19 public health crisis hit Virginia last year, free and charitable clinics responded quickly, implementing telemedicine and other strategies to immediately and safely meet the ongoing health care needs of uninsured patients. Clinics took an active role in helping prevent an escalation of the virus, reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, and preserve hospital capacity.
And Virginia’s clinics continue to serve on the front lines, meeting the healthcare needs of their patients and responding to the pandemic by providing COVID-19 screening, testing, and treatment as well as administering the vaccine to vulnerable communities across the state once widely available in Virginia.
An unintended consequence of the pandemic in 2020 was the devastating job loss, and with that, loss of employer-sponsored health insurance. This has led to an unprecedented surge of patients needing vital healthcare services and often lacking the means to afford it. Free clinics are here to provide that safety net and deliver care to those who might otherwise go without.
“The clinics are playing a role in the reopening of the state and are on the front lines providing COVID-19 testing. We are also working to provide medical care for those who may be temporarily furloughed, out of work, and no longer have insurance.” – Rufus Phillips, CEO, VAFCC
Free and charitable clinics have stepped up to meet an urgent healthcare need while also leading the charge in uninsured COVID-19 testing around the state. Recent figures suggest that 55% of clinics are seeing an increase in patients while struggling with a 31% reduction in clinic personnel – all as a result of COVID-19. What’s more, 67% of clinics are in immediate need of volunteers such as nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and more.
The challenge lies in finding a way to meet the needs of the communities with fewer volunteers and increased operating costs. Free clinics are in dire need of donations and financial support from businesses and individuals to help close this gap. Visit our donate page to learn how you can help.