From left to right: Everett Cunningham of Quest Diagnostics, Pam Koprowski of Stamford Hospital, Stamford Mayor David Martin, Americares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis and Americares Free Clinics Executive Director Karen Gottlieb cut the ribbon on the new Americares Free Clinic of Stamford.
Stamford, Conn. – Jan. 25, 2017 – Americares celebrated the opening of its newest free clinic for the uninsured with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Stamford, Conn., this morning. The new Americares Free Clinic at 401 Shippan Avenue is the first permanent home for the free clinic serving low-income area residents without health insurance.
The spacious office has 2,200 square feet and five exam rooms, giving the program room to grow. Last year, nearly 850 patients received medical services valued at $2.1 million. The Stamford clinic began three years ago this month as a mobile program operating out of a 40-foot converted school bus with two exam rooms.
“With today’s opening we have reached our goal to have full-service medical clinics in Fairfield County’s four largest cities,” said Americares Free Clinics Executive Director Karen Gottlieb. “We hope to bring in more doctors and dollars in the months ahead to serve even more low-income patients without health insurance.”
Over the years, more than 1,300 patients have received care. Patients must earn less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, have no insurance including Medicaid or Medicare and live in either Stamford or Darien in order to quality for care. A single person may earn up to $29,700 annually; a family of four up to $60,750.
The program is 100 percent privately funded. Patients receive comprehensive health care including medications, lab work and diagnostic testing all at no cost thanks to donations from individuals, foundations and corporations and donated services from Stamford Hospital and Quest Diagnostics. Building and Land Technology, OdysseyRe Foundation and Purdue Pharma have provided significant corporate support since the program was launched in 2014.
In addition to primary care services, the clinic offers ophthalmology services for diabetic patients on site and provides patients with access to orthopedic services at the nearby Hospital for Special Surgery Stamford Outpatient Center, located in the Chelsea Piers Connecticut sports complex.
By starting as a mobile program, Americares was able to change locations to meet demand. Over the years the mobile clinic made stops at DOMUS, Neighbors Link, the New Covenant House of Hospitality soup kitchen and the Boys & Girls Club. Patient demographics were analyzed to determine the optimum neighborhood for a permanent home. Americares chose the Shippan Avenue location after determining the majority of patients reside on the city’s East and West Sides.
“We have gotten to know the Stamford community over the past three years and have forged partnerships to create a program that will meet the medical needs of the city’s working poor for years to come,” Gottlieb said. “It truly is a community coming together to care for our neighbors in need.”
According to the latest U.S. Census data, 10 percent of Stamford residents are uninsured—about 13,000 people. That number could increase if major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are repealed without a replacement. Nationwide, 18 million people could lose their insurance over the next year according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis did not factor in plans to replace the legislation, as lawmakers have not yet reached an agreement.
Americares has been serving Fairfield County’s uninsured for over 20 years. With four clinics serving more than 3,000 patients, the health-focused relief and development organization operates the largest free clinic network in the state.
In all 50 states and more than 90 countries worldwide, Americares supports thriving local health centers with donated medicine, supplies, education and training. Americares helps partner clinics to increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.