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Relief Worker Assesses Needs Across America
The health care crisis has reached a fever pitch in the United States as many Americans have lost their jobs and health insurance. The huge burden of health care costs has increased financial strain and stress for families all across the country. In response, AmeriCares is doubling aid to clinics serving the poor and uninsured – increasing donations to over $40 million.
By increasing the resources of nonprofit medical centers, AmeriCares will enable more patients to receive high-quality, affordable treatment. Providing patients with access to health care helps them control and manage their chronic conditions while offering an alternative to using over-burdened emergency rooms for primary care.
Morgan White, an AmeriCares relief worker, shares how the health care crisis is impacting patients and health workers at free clinics. AmeriCares supports clinics from coast to coast with donations of medicines and medical supplies – helping them provide more care and free prescriptions to many people in need.
AmeriCares donations provide health care clinics with medicines and medical supplies so they can treat more patients within their limited budgets. I’ve worked with clinics from coast to coast on plans to help the growing number of families who have been hard hit by the economy and lost access to quality health care.
A few months ago, I met Tom* at a health clinic in rural West Virginia. Tom made a comfortable living as a livery driver and had good health benefits – until a cancer diagnosis at the age of 48 turned his world upside down.
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Due to complications from the devastating disease, he was in a coma for 6 months. After months of agonizing treatments, doctors finally had to remove his left lung to save his life. Tom beat cancer, but the battle left him unemployed, uninsured and broke. He gets regular check ups at the clinic and can only hope for the best until he can find work again.
In California, I met a group of young mothers – Carla, Shelly and Eva* – while I was distributing cold and flu medicines. We talked about how expensive it is to take care of a sick child and keep the medicine cabinet stocked properly. Costs can add up quickly: $10 for cough medicine, $40 for allergy pills, $12 for nose drops, $20 for throat spray, $8 for medicated chest rub. Treating a cold can cost as much as groceries for the week!AmeriCares pledged to expand its U.S. Medical Assistance Program at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The two-year commitment will improve community health by donating medicines and medical supplies to health care organizations serving the uninsured and underinsured throughout the country. With its CGI Commitment, AmeriCares aims to:
The moms were so relieved when I gave them the medicines. Shelly told me if it weren’t for the free medicine, she didn’t know what she’d do. I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day knowing these hard-working moms had one less thing to worry about.
While visiting with doctors and nurses in a pediatric clinic in New York City, I saw first hand the affect the donated medicines have on the medical professionals in the front lines. It is very frustrating hear about a patient receiving a written prescription they really need, knowing there is no way they can afford to get it filled. By delivering medicines directly to the clinics, AmeriCares helps ensure that patients are getting the care they need.
Stories like Tom’s and Shelly’s are far too common. For many hard working Americans – health care is simply not affordable. More and more, the waitress who served your lunch, the plumber who fixed your sink or the reporter who wrote your town’s news struggles to pay for doctor’s visits and medications. The choices they are faced with are heartbreaking. Can you imagine having to choose between buying medicine for your sick husband or food for your children?
To help American families in need, AmeriCares is expanding our commitment to deliver critically needed medicines and medical supplies to clinics across the country serving the poor and uninsured. Our donated medicines reduce the financial strain on both the clinic and the patient, helping people get healthy and stay productive.
*names changed to protect patient privacy