1.7 MILLION unduplicated patients and 5.9 MILLION patient visits and have utilized 160,000 volunteers, including over 30,000 medical providers, 21,000 nurses and almost 71,000 non-medical volunteers.
More than 1,200 Free and Charitable Clinics, of which St. Martin’s Healthcare is one such clinic, are located throughout the United States. These clinics which have been around since as early as the 1960’s are truly the community’s response to the healthcare needs in their area.
St. Martin’s Healthcare Clinic receives NO state or federal funding; we do not receive HRSA 330 funds and we are NOT a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Center. Therefore, our clinic relies heavily on the generosity of individual donors, foundations and grants as funding sources.
Free and Charitable Clinics, like St. Martin’s, will remain an important part of the country’s safety net. In the upcoming months and years, doctors, hospitals, navigators, states, clinics and patients will be addressing the needs of the underserved with respect to affordability, accessibility and portability of primary, specialty, dental care and medication access.
It remains a very large misconception that the (Affordable Care Act) ACA will provide the means for everyone to have insurance or access to health care and that our clinic will no longer be needed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The ACA is not and was never intended to be:
In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, there may be as many as 29-30 million people left without access to affordable health care even AFTER the ACA and the promise of expanded access.
What we have experienced this last year is a revolving door of healthcare by our patients. They may qualify for the various programs, but not for the cost saving discounts. Our patients enroll in the chosen insurance program, are able to make the payments for a few months, but then something happens and they are again forced to choose between food and shelter or insurance. Given these realities, St. Martin’s Healthcare will remain an important part of the health care safety net. We will continue to fill in the gap of our current and future health care system.
In the upcoming months and years, St. Martin’s Healthcare as well as many doctors, hospitals, navigators, states, other clinics and patients will be addressing the needs of the uninsured with respect to affordability, portability and accessibility of health care. St. Martin’s Healthcare will examine and carefully plan how we can best serve the unmet need in our county and adjust our delivery of care as needed.
To conclude that with the ACA there will no longer be a need for the services St. Martin’s Healthcare provides is unfair, just unfathomable and simply put – not true. Our clinic remains “Open for Business” to help the residents of DeKalb and Noble counties whom are left behind and we will continue to work with our volunteers, donors and community to see that everyone has access to healthcare.