Good Grief – Free Clinics Having to Charge
Out of Bristol, TN: ” A pink note taped to the front door of Healing Hands Health Center advises patients the formerly free clinic will try to make up some red ink with modest charges for health care.”
The director further explains:
“We have seen decreases in donations and, at the same time, are being asked to pay some large bills that have always been in-kind donations,” Scott said. “We had a shortfall of $41,000 at the end of 2008.”
For the past 11 years, Healing Hands has provided free medical and dental care, plus free medications, to the Twin City region’s uninsured, working poor.
The charges are modest, and I think it’s better that they’re there and affordable than not there at all. I’m concerned, though, about whether this will be a widespread problem, especially as more people perhaps begin to need access to free and reduced cost services in order to get any healthcare at all.
In other words, the safety net, in a time when people are losing jobs and health insurance, may be getting less safe.
[Hat tip to Demarcationville]