What does the multicultural, multilingual team at Clinica Esperanza do with the help of our supporters? We provide continuity of care to more than 2,500 patients, who are seen on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights or on Saturday during the morning Amal clinic. Patients seeking to join the clinic have only to walk in to the clinic and register for care (no appointments are taken over the phone), first come, first served. There is no lottery for healthcare here!.
And because we know that “honey catches the bees”, we operate a free, walk-in clinic for uninsured residents of Rhode Island. The walk-in is staffed by volunteers and run by our expert Nurse Director, Valerie Joseph RN. Patients who walk in for pre-employment physicals, flu shots, bumps, scrapes and bruises, can also get checked for chronic diseases. We find many patients who have previously-undiagnosed health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease! We are then able to provide access to continuity of care for these patients in our evening clinics, and with specialty care volunteers.
We are experts at connecting altruistic neighbors to neighbors who need access to healthcare. Our clinic makes it possible for those wonderful connections to happen. For example, Brown (Alpert Medical School) students and their (faculty) mentors provide care at a clinic-within-a-clinic, every Tuesday night, at CEHC. And University of RI pharmacy students also volunteer to provide help with medication access. Providence College students are helping our patients with non-medical care through their social-work activities.
We train the next generation of health workers!
Doctors in training (residents), Observer MDs and nurses are also active volunteers at CEHC. Nurse-run healthcare protocols make it possible to provide a free walk-in clinic for non-urgent health problems, the CHEER clinic (this project is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and United Way of Rhode Island).
And, while providing care to our neighbors, we also engage in healthcare workforce development by providing entry level healthcare workers with critical skills and training at our clinic and at outreach sites. Textron Foundation recently awarded CEHC a grant that will allow us to train new “Navegantes” (Community Healthcare Workers) at our clinic in 2016.
Why is Free Care still Needed?
Has “Obamacare” changed the landscape for healthcare access? Actually, not for our patients. (More about that here). Our efforts to reduce barriers to health care in Rhode Island are still needed. An estimated 40,000 individuals remain ineligible for ACA-based insurance in our state. We found that 38% of individuals living in our immediate neighborhood remain uninsured – a much higher rate of uninsurance than reported elsewhere in the state.
What can you do to help?
Do you know someone who wants to help us reduce Health Disparities? Volunteer for our clinic by writing info[at]aplacetobehealthy.org.
Unable to Volunteer? Contribute to our mission by clicking this link.
And – Like us on FaceBook! Find our page here.
Our latest (Fall 2015) Newsletter can be found here: Click this Link!