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New Canaan, CT, July 23 2003 – Responding to a call for help from the Greater Bridgeport Medical Association and the East End Community Council, the AmeriCares Free Clinics opened a new site in Bridgeport, CT on Tuesday, July 22. The first day of operation was a success with numerous patients arriving for treatment.
The clinic addresses the primary health care needs of the working poor in Bridgeport. Emergency rooms in both community hospitals, St. Vincent’s Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital, are experiencing an increasingly large number of walk-in patients seeking primary care. While both have established primary care centers, they are overwhelmed with the number of patients. Although there are a number of other outpatient programs within the city, the AmeriCares site is the first to provide free health care.
The new Bridgeport clinic is one of three AmeriCares clinics in Connecticut providing primary medical care for the uninsured. The others are located in Norwalk and Danbury. The mission of the AmeriCares Free Clinic is to help those individuals who are making a sincere effort to help themselves and their families, but who do not have the financial resources to pay for their medical care.
Due to the high rate of the uninsured in Bridgeport, the AmeriCares Free Clinic will be expanding its hours in the fall. In order to do this, the AmeriCares Free Clinics seek additional support from volunteer physicians. Each volunteer physician must be board-certified or board-eligible in internal medicine, family practice or emergency medicine. All physicians are covered under the AmeriCares Free Clinics’ malpractice insurance policy for the work that they do at the clinic.
Sharon Joslin, APRN, serves as the new Clinic Director. The clinic, staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses including Dominick Sorge, MD, as Medical Director, will partner with both Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent’s Medical Center, the Greater Bridgeport Medical Association and Quest Diagnostics to ensure access to high quality health care. Initial services during FY 2004 will be provided on board a mobile medical unit currently owned by the AmeriCares Free Clinics. After the first year, the clinic will seek permanent, rent-free space based upon usage factors and need.
The Bridgeport clinic is open for walk-in patients on Tuesday from 1-4pm at Newfield Public Library, 1230 Stratford Avenue. Patients must meet the following eligibility criteria: no health insurance, not eligible for public/private insurance (patients on Medicare or Medicaid are not eligible for services), income of less than 200% of Federal Poverty Level and must be a resident of the greater Bridgeport area. Patients must be at least 16 years of age and a legal guardian must accompany children ages 16-18. (Note: All patients must bring photo identification and proof of income and should bring all prescription medication bottles.)
For more information on how to contribute or volunteer, contact AmeriCares Free Clinics at 1-800-486-HELP, or visit www.americaresfreeclinics.org. AmeriCares Free Clinics, Inc. is a 501c(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.