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Supporting Free Clinics Means Better Health for the Uninsured

  • September 18, 2013

Sharon feels hopeful now. She follows the diet and lifestyle counseling for her diabetes and heart, and the clinic refers her to other services for which she is eligible.Six weeks after her own heart surgery, Sharon Gaspard’s husband called from the off-shore oil rig where he worked. “I love you,” he told her. Those were the last words she heard him speak. Hours later, Sharon’s husband died of a heart attack.“We’d always had health insurance,” Sharon says. But her family’s insurance ended with her husband’s life. While her son, who has disabilities, receives Medicaid, Sharon is not eligible for government health insurance. Sharon went to her doctor for follow-up care and soon had an $18,000 medical bill from her heart doctor, far more than she could afford.A relative told Sharon about the Eunice Community Health Center in her hometown of Eunice, Louisiana. The Eunice center is one of more than 600 clinics that AmeriCares supports with donated medicine, supplies and a website for sharing information and ordering. As long as Sharon qualifies, this locally run non-profit will provide medicine and regular care free of charge. AmeriCares has been supporting the Eunice Community Health Center regularly since 2009 and last year, donated $1.5 million worth of medicine and supplies — enough for 13,000 prescriptions for Sharon and the clinic’s 2,800 other patients.Sharon is one of the estimated 48 million Americans who live without insurance coverage from their employer, Medicare or Medicaid. In all, charitable clinics requested more than $207 million in medicines from AmeriCares last year – enough medicine for more than 900,000 prescriptions, including the five that Sharon receives from the Eunice clinic each month.Sharon feels hopeful now. She follows the diet and lifestyle counseling for her diabetes and heart, and the clinic refers her to other services for which she is eligible.  And every month Sharon pays $10 towards her $18,000 bill, a reminder of a more stressful time.Donate Now