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AmeriCares in America: Helping More People Live Longer, Healthier Lives

  • July 3, 2012

Every day, in communities across the United States, AmeriCares helps families stay healthier and live longer, by increasing access to crucial health services. In 2011, the U.S. was our top aid recipient, with more than $150 million in medicines, free medical care for the uninsured, and disaster aid delivered to help families in crisis right here at home.For people like Patricia and Luis – just two of the more than 50 million people in America who cannot afford basic health care – this help has made a life-changing difference.Patricia’s story:Patricia, a 55-year-old single mom of two, works as a bus monitor for special needs children. For many years, she suffered with high blood pressure and emphysema — chronic illnesses that require ongoing care.  Since her job does not offer health insurance, Patricia paid for self- coverage, but had to discontinue her policy because of the high monthly premium.Soon after that, she stopped taking her medications, because she could not afford the out of pocket costs.  At the same time, Patricia’s job put her in close contact with young children, elevating her risk of falling ill. In September, 2011, she caught a cold that quickly led to sinus infections and severe bronchitis that left her struggling to breathe.Not used to accepting charity, Patricia finally heeded the urging of a friend and sought treatment at one of the three AmeriCares Free Clinics in Connecticut.  Thanks to the clinic, she received the medical care and prescription medications she needed to recover.“The clinic has been a godsend,” Patricia explained. “Every time I go in, I tell the nurses that I don’t know where I would be without them.”Last year, AmeriCares Free Clinics provided 3,000 children and adults with nearly $6 million worth of medical care, from treatment for chronic diseases, to injuries and sudden illnesses like the flu.

Charlotte Community Health Clinic

Luis’s asthma is now under control.Luis’s story:Twelve year-old Luis has suffered from asthma since age five. Twice his parents had to rush him to the emergency room, an expensive option that did nothing to manage his chronic condition. They had little choice: Although they both work, neither parent has health insurance.His mom and dad were relieved to learn about a local clinic that provides care to uninsured patients like Luis. Fortunately, the clinic had just received a supply of spirometers – devices that measure lung capacity – from AmeriCares.When Luis exhales into the spirometer, clinic workers use the measurement to determine how much medicine he needs. The result: No visits to the emergency room and better management of his asthma.“Now that Luis is a patient here, he will have access to appropriate meds, and we will be able to monitor his treatment,” said Martha Brinsko, a nurse practitioner at the clinic. “The spirometer makes it possible for us to offer children like Luis ongoing care to prevent avoidable hospital visits.”In 2011, AmeriCares expanded the network of safety net clinics we support to more than 400 in 43 states across the country. We’ve also increased the volume and diversity of medical donations we receive, allowing us to focus on continuity of care for patients like Luis and Patricia, who suffer from chronic disease.Read MoreDonate Now