Some families cannot afford any type of health insurance or medical care and they are not sure where to go for assistance. The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics is a great resource for free and sliding scale health services.
WHAT IS NAFC?
The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics actually started as the National Association of Free Clinics. It was run by volunteers and donations with the services being offered to anyone who did not have access to health care. They provide an assortment of services including medical, dental, pharmacy, vision, and behavioral health services. Free and charitable clinics limit qualifications for their services to people who are uninsured, under-insured and/or have little to no primary, specialty or prescription health care.
The NAFC got a huge boost when Dr Oz became a supporter and partner in this endeavor. They joined together to do a free one-day health clinic and reached 1800 uninsured people with health care and resources for follow up care. Dr Oz also recorded a television program to share how this operated and shown what an impact it had on the uninsured community. Since that one-day clinic, 12 other one-day clinics were offered nationwide, where 15,000 uninsured people also received health care and resources for follow up care.
The issues and priorities that the NAFC faces are as follows: the nation needs to do a much better job of tackling the disparity of health care offerings; the federal government needs to recognize the NAFC as a key part of America’s health care safety net; medications need to be made more affordable and accessible; volunteerism needs to be promoted and keeping tax provisions in place that support donations to charitable organizations.
WHAT DOES NAFC OFFER?
If you go to their website www.nafcclinics.org, you can find a wealth of information. There is a Find a Clinic button that you can click on to find a free or low cost clinic in your area. Every state and Washington, DC is represented. There are 1200 free and charitable clinics nationwide. Even with the full execution of the Affordable Care Act, the NAFC has seen a 40% increase in patient needs.
Services offered are as follows: primary medical care, physicals, general wellness exams, testing, chronic disease care, dental care, behavioral/mental health care, vision, and other specialty care, care coordination, women’s health care, health education, smoking cessation, health navigation, immunizations, and pharmacy services/medication access.
RESOURCES ON WEBSITE
In addition to finding a clinic on the website, there are other resources available to those visiting the website. There is a list of journal articles that talk about free and charitable clinics and their impact on the American health care system. There is also a list of publications that may be helpful to those wanting to qualify their clinic for their program or to answer questions about free and charitable clinics. Resources from partners can be helpful for the clients of NAFC because there is information they may be able to use in regards to prescriptions and health care for children. The infographics section gives a great picture version of how these services impact different communities.
GETTING THE WORD OUT
If you know of a family that would benefit from these services, please let them know about NAFC. Even though those individuals may need a computer to look for a clinic, most public libraries offer Internet access. They could also contact the school where their child is enrolled to obtain computer access. It is a great option for those who don’t have a Smartphone or computer.