A Free Clinic for the Uninsured
Expanding Health Care Coverage
November 16, 2006
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
Some 10,000 residents of Tompkins County, N.Y., lack health insurance; many of the uninsured live below the poverty line.
The Ithaca Free Clinic, the first to provide free medical care to uninsured residents, opened with limited hours in January 2006. With additional funding, Ithaca Free Clinic hoped to recruit additional volunteer health professionals, enabling significant expansion of the clinic’s operating hours and services offered, including a new pediatric clinic and public health education program.
Ten thousand Tompkins County residents do not have health insurance; many of these individuals live near the poverty line. This grant to Social Ventures Ithaca Health Alliance was designed to increase the availability of specialty services to uninsured residents.
The grant was used for a variety of expansion activities that included: (1) expanding the free clinic’s hours; (2) increasing the number of volunteers by hiring an outreach coordinator who will organize a volunteer recruitment campaign; (3) increasing the specialty care offered at the clinic, beginning with a monthly pediatric clinic for disadvantaged children; and (4) expanding the presence of facilitated enrollers who could train the clinic’s own volunteers to pre-screen patients and determine their eligibility for state health insurance.
The Ithaca Health Alliance was founded in 1997 as a member-supported, nonprofit community health organization to facilitate access to health care, especially for the uninsured.