When the COVID-19 public health crisis hit Virginia in 2020, 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 to prevent an escalation of the virus, reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, and preserve hospital capacity.
And in 2022, Virginia’s clinics continue to serve on the front lines, meeting the healthcare needs of their patients and responding by providing COVID-19 screening, testing, and treatment as well as administering the vaccine to vulnerable communities across the state.
The need for free clinics is more pressing that ever. The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the health disparities that exist across communities in Virginia. And yet despite a scarcity of equipment, personnel, and funding, free and charitable clinics met the healthcare needs of uninsured and at-risk populations across our state. One free clinics leader puts it this way: “Free clinics are our patients’ one stable lifeline to care – we’re determined that we remain available to them.”
“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 76% 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, 68% 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.