free clinics

Free Clinics Help Make Up For Lack Of Medicaid Expansion

Oct 31, 2018
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Health care is one of the most important things for Floridians this election. That’s according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll. While candidates debate whose plan is best, free clinics serve many of Florida’s uninsured.

While across the nation the cultural and political tug-of-war over health care rages on, locally, healers keep on healing. But providing care for people can get complicated when they don’t have health insurance.


What’s The Solution? Delivering Health Care To Uninsured Floridians

For the past six months Health News Florida has told the stories of people without insurance who use free clinics throughout the Tampa Bay area. Now we’re inviting the community to take part in that conversation during a special taping of Florida Matters. Join us for a panel discussion on providing care to the uninsured.

When a hepatitis C treatment called Harvoni was released in 2014, Dr. Ronald Cirillo knew it was big.

"It's the reason that dragged me out of retirement!" he says.

Unlike many things from the 1967 "Summer of Love," the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic survived.

The clinic, now part of a larger network, still operates out of a second-floor office overlooking Haight Street in San Francisco. A steep wooden staircase leads to a warren of small but airy rooms.

One exam room still has a wall covered by a faded psychedelic mural, featuring a collage of famous rock stars, naked bodies and peace signs.

The decor used to be even more colorful, according to lab manager Pam Olton. She has worked at the Free Clinic for more than 40 years.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Dr. Ronald Cirillo and his assistant at the Turning Points free clinic in Bradenton are testing another patient for hepatitis C.

Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

When patients come to The Outreach Clinic in Brandon, one of the first people they encounter is Jackie Perez.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

A mild stroke sent St. Petersburg resident Lori Ngo to the hospital in May.

She was feeling a pain in her leg, but didn't think much of it.

Broken teeth are all too often a punchline in conversations about poor people in rural places. But for Heather Wallace, dental problems are anything but funny.

"Basically it's just like a nerve pain. Your whole body locks up; you have to stop for a second to try to breathe," she said. "And sometimes if it hurts bad enough, you might cry."

Expanding Access Called Key In Addressing Health Issues

Apr 27, 2016

Speakers at a health-care "summit" said Tuesday that expanding access to care for more Floridians could save the state money.

The two-day Florida Health Care Affordability Summit, sponsored by the business group Associated Industries of Florida, included lawmakers and experts addressing topics ranging from controlling drug costs to expanding treatment options through technology.

Free Clinics Expanding Mission To Help Insured Patients With High Expenses

Apr 19, 2016
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Denise Johnson works two jobs, but neither of them offers health insurance to part-timers like her. She signed up for a marketplace plan this year, but for routine medical care, Johnson still goes to the free clinic near her Charlottesville, Virginia, home.

The problem is her plan’s deductible of at least $1,000. She can’t recall the precise figure, but it doesn’t really matter. “It’s absolutely high,” said Johnson, 58. “Who can afford that?” She struggles to pay her $28 monthly premium.

Leaders from the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics went to Tallahassee Thursday to personally ask lawmakers to keep them in the budget this year.

What they’re asking for: at least $4.5 million in appropriations to serve 14,000  more uninsured Floridians

“These clinics play a critical role,” says Nick Duran, head of the association.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

In a small room covered with posters for diabetes prevention and free eye clinics, and a physician’s desk stacked with papers, Karen Cascone meets with her nurse practitioner.

Monica Smith came to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic's women's program in 2012, after drug addiction and a felony record led to her losing custody of her three children. The program helps homeless women gain independence through job training and mentoring