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AmeriCares Free Clinic of Stamford opened its doors on January 7, 2014, treating patients aboard a 40-foot mobile unit with two examination rooms. In the program’s first year, the clinic expects to provide 1,200 patient visits and $900,000 in free medical services for low-income residents of the Connecticut city, where nearly one in five residents is uninsured.
The mobile clinic will provide primary care services to low-income and uninsured residents of Stamford, home of AmeriCares headquarters, and nearby Darien —making scheduled stops three days a week.
Among the dozen patients who braved the bitter cold to come for treatment on the clinic’s first day was Baldomero, a 51-year-old handyman who has been suffering with periodic stomach pain. With the mobile clinic stopping at Neighbor’s Link Stamford every Tuesday, Baldomero now has access to a preventive care he could never afford. “It’s the best,” he said. “The advantage of coming here is to be able to catch health problems before there is an emergency.”
For many residents of Stamford and Darien, the new clinic puts health within reach. “We’re looking forward to improving health for the whole community as a result of this new source,” said Kathleen Walsh, chairman of Neighbors Link Stamford’s Board of Directors. “Residents can receive treatment for their illnesses sooner, losing fewer days of work and avoiding costly ER visits. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension can be identified sooner and managed more effectively, reducing their impacts on to workers and families alike.”
Clinic patients receive comprehensive health care including medications, lab work and diagnostic testing all at no cost. Stamford Hospital provides free diagnostic services including X-rays, CT scans and MRIs; Quest Diagnostics provides free laboratory testing for patients.
A view from outside the 40-foot mobile clinic in Stamford, Connecticut on opening day.
Private funding from individuals, corporations and foundations is expected to cover 100 percent of operating expenses. Three-quarters of the funding comes from five major donors: OdysseyRe Foundation, Building and Land Technology, Purdue Pharma and two private individuals. With continued financial support, AmeriCares plans to open a permanent clinic location in 2015.
“We are proud to offer quality health care that will keep the uninsured healthy and prevent costly, avoidable hospitalizations,” said AmeriCares Free Clinics Executive Director Karen Gottlieb. “It is really a community effort – volunteers, donors and community partners coming together to care for our neighbors in need.”
The Stamford clinic is AmeriCares fourth clinic in Connecticut. There are also AmeriCares Free Clinics in Norwalk, Bridgeport and Danbury that serve nearly 3,000 uninsured patients annually. Since 1994, AmeriCares has helped 22,000 patients received more than $50 million in free health care services.
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