Free Clinic In D.C. Draws More Than 1,000 Patients

Patients line up Wednesday to check-in to the first free health clinic held in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Convention Center (Jessica Marcy/KHN).

McClatchy Newspapers: "With a wounded economy and high unemployment, more than 1,000 people came to a one-day free health clinic in the nation's capital Wednesday to get the basic care they can't afford or are otherwise denied because they have no insurance. More than three-quarters of those attending don't have insurance because they are recently unemployed, work for small businesses, earn hourly wages, or must work multiple part-time jobs with no insurance, said the event's medical director Dr. Bobby Kapur. According to the National Association of Free Clinics, about 83 percent of the patients who go to free clinics are employed but don't have health insurance. … A team of about 1,000 volunteer doctors, nurses, and everyday folks made it a priority to ease the anxiety faced by patients like Albury in addition to providing a range of other primary medical care to more than 1,000 uninsured individuals from the D.C. metro area" (Bridgeman, 8/4).

The Washington Independent: "The National Association of Free Clinics hosted its first one-day, free event in Washington, D.C. — the seventh in a series, but the first of its kind ever in Washington. The city does not seem the most logical choice: It has a lower unemployment rate than the vast majority of states, and nearly 90 percent of residents are covered. Still, the city has 57,200 residents without insurance — and millions of uninsured neighbors in Maryland and Virginia. So, after hosting similar events serving tens of thousands of people across the country, NAFC set its sights on D.C." (Lowrey, 8/4).

The Washington Post reports: "The treatment was underwritten by 44,000 donors who contributed $300,000. Many of the patients traded disheartening stories while waiting in line." The Post also has a video of the event (Sieff, 8/5).

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