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As health care reform continues to top the national agenda, staff from AmeriCares Free Clinics recently met with U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn, to discuss the growing need for free health care services for the uninsured and underinsured. Dodd, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and a leader in the universal health care debate, toured the AmeriCares Free Clinic in Norwalk, Conn. and met with patients who depend on the clinic for their health care.
The clinic is one of three AmeriCares operates in Connecticut for low-income residents without health insurance. Patients receive exams, blood work, diagnostic testing, treatment from specialists and prescription drugs all free of charge. Without the treatment they receive at AmeriCares Free Clinics, many of our patients could be forced to go to hospital emergency rooms to get some of the care they need.With more Americans losing their jobs and their health insurance every day, they are coming to AmeriCares for help with managing their diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health conditions. We have seen a 20 percent increase in patient visits over the past year.
AmeriCares also helps people coast to coast who can’t afford basic medicines and health care by providing free medicines to clinics and patients nationwide. The clinics provide primary care services to the uninsured and underinsured, including adult and pediatric exams; maintenance and monitoring of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.
Sen. Dodd, who recently announced he has prostate cancer, spoke with AmeriCares staff, volunteers and patients about his own health and his concern for other Americans who do not have health insurance, are unemployed or cannot afford to pay for health plans offered by their employers.
Over the past 15 years, AmeriCares Free Clinics have helped 17,000 patients receive more than $25 million worth of free medical care. AmeriCares has also supported over 150 U.S. clinics that serve the poor and uninsured. In the last two years, AmeriCares has supplied more than 450 shipments of pharmaceuticals and supplies valued at over $36 million.
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