Mobile And Free Clinics Provide Low Cost Medical Care To Uninsured Patients

Reuters, on mobile clinics including the Family Van, a nonprofit clinic affiliated with Harvard University, in Boston: "The van -- which visits six low-income neighborhoods around Boston weekly -- is one of about 2,000 such mobile clinics in the United States. Advocates say the approach can help control the rising cost of health care by helping people with chronic diseases to stay out of the emergency room, often the first recourse for inner-city residents. … The mobile clinics are largely nonprofit and most provide general medical care, though smaller numbers specialize in dentistry or mammography. … The average visit to the Family Van costs $117, versus $923 for a nonemergency visit to a hospital emergency room, according to an analysis by the clinic, Harvard Medical School and other experts" (Malone, 8/11).

Kaiser Health News has a photo slide show of a recent "mega" clinic: "With 57,200 uninsured people in Washington, D.C., Communities Are Responding Everyday (C.A.R.E.) convened a free clinic in the city's convention center on Aug. 4. Mega clinics are a last-resort safety net and seek to connect patients with local community resources including other free clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers and safety-net hospitals" (Marcy, 8/11).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.