Free clinics see more patients and less funding since start of pandemic

HANNIBAL, MO (WGEM) - According to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, 80 percent of those clinics say funding is their biggest concern since the start of the pandemic.

The Hannibal Free Clinic has also seen this problem. The clinic is run completely on donations and fundraisers, which have suffered since the start of the pandemic.

“We were not able to have our major fundraisers this year. In the spring we usually have an auction and in the fall we normally have Rib Fest, which is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and we were not able to have those," said Sharon Webster, Hannibal Free Clinic manager and registered nurse. 

The clinic does not typically receive state or federal funding, but they were able to get some assistance this year from CARES Act funding. 

They say they also have money saved from previous fundraisers to help them with services for the rest of the year.

The clinic is also seeing more people use their services since the start of the pandemic.

Officials say they’ve seen a 200% increase in applications for appointments at the Hannibal Clinic from the summer of 2020 compare to the summer of 2019. 

When a person loses a job or way of paying for insurance, they can come to the clinic for medical care and help with other things that can affect health.

“We really try to talk to our patients and figure out what’s going on with them and help them beyond just getting them arranged to see a doctor. We try to help them by understanding what’s going on and finding out if there’s other places we need to refer them to for food or housing or things like that," Webster said.

Officials say it’s important to make doctors appointments early because many medical problems only get worse with time. 

The clinic does not give COVID-19 tests. 

The Hannibal Free Clinic does not accept walk in appointments. 

If you would like to make an appointment you can visit their website at hannibalfreeclinic.orgor call (573)248-8307.

And the Hannibal clinic only serves Northeast Missouri, but you can find a free clinic near you at https://www.nafcclinics.org/find-clinic .

 

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Source: 
WGEM
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