NAFC History

History of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC)

 

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics was founded in 2001 and incorporated in the State of North Carolina originally under the name of the National Association of Free Clinics.  In 2001, a group of dedicated Free Clinic Supporters and Executive Directors joined together to form an Association that would work on behalf of the 1,200 Free Health Clinics who were serving the working poor and uninsured of America.  These clinics utilized volunteers and donations to provide health care to those who had no access to care. 

Free and Charitable Clinics are safety-net health care organizations that utilize a volunteer/staff model to provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, vision and/or behavioral health services to economically disadvantaged individuals. Such clinics are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, or operate as a program component or affiliate of a 501(c)(3) organization.

Entities that otherwise meet the above definition, but charge a nominal/sliding fee to patients, may still be considered free or charitable clinics provided essential services are delivered regardless of the patient's ability to pay.  Free or charitable clinics restrict eligibility for their services to individuals who are uninsured, underinsured and/or have limited or no access to primary, specialty or prescription health care.

From 2001-2007 the National Association of Free Clinics was primarily run by a volunteer Board who met twice a year. In 2007, the Association hired its first full time Executive Director, Nicole Lamoureux.  From 2007-2009 the Association had one employee and has since grown to currently have three employees.  Additionally the budget of the Association has grown from 75,000 in 2007 to 1.6 million in 2020.

In 2009, the Association saw a rapid growth of staff, funding and recognition due to a partnership with television personality Dr. Oz.  The NAFC and the Dr. Oz Show joined together to hold a Free One Day Health Clinic in Houston, Texas http://www.doctoroz.com/press/dr-oz-rescue where 1,800 uninsured Texans received health care and connection to follow up care. This clinic was filmed and turned into a one-hour television show that discussed the uninsured and the important role that Free Clinics play as a part of the nation’s safety net. 

Immediately following the airing of the Dr. Oz special, the NAFC was featured on Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.  This increased press exposure helped the Association to tell the story of Free Clinics and allowed the Association to hold additional one day Free Clinics in other cities across the country.  A total of 16 C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinics have been held, where a total of over 18,600 uninsured people received free medical care and were connected to local area resources.  This was made possible through generous donations and sponsors and with the help of over 17,000 volunteers.

As the country discussed health care reform and its implications for and on the uninsured, the NAFC and their members actively voiced their thoughts and opinions, trying to educate Congress, the Press and the Public about the plight of those who have no access to health care.  The NAFC CEO became a regular guest on television and radio, and was often quoted in print media discussing the important role that clinics play in America’s safety net. 

In 2011, the NAFC officially changed its name from the National Association of Free Clinics to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, expanding its membership base to include those clinics that serve the uninsured and medically underserved with a low cost sliding fee scale. 

One of the most common misconceptions about how the United States would look after the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that there would no longer be a need for Free and Charitable Clinics to continue to provide charity care as a member of the safety net.  In fact, many are surprised to hear that even after full implementation of the ACA, there are as many as 27 million people who are still without access to health insurance.

While Affordable Care Act was a first step towards access to health care for some, it was not a complete solution for primary care and with respect to dental, mental and other specialies it leaves a great hole in care.  Until effective comprehensive reforms can be implemented, there are people in communities throughout this nation who are standing in the gap, filling the need as best they can every day and providing needed services at more than 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies across the country, as well as at other safety-net health care providers.

Our members have been dedicated to providing access to quality health care since the 1960's and we are going to continue in this important health care role until every person in the U.S. has the access to care that they deserve.

 


 
NAFC Historical Timeline
 

2001 - 2006

  • NAFC founded and incorporated in North Carolina
  • NAFC elected first Board of Directors
  • NAFC worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) to establish Guidance for Industry Prescription Drug Marketing Act — Donation of Prescription Drug Samples to Free Clinics
  • NAFC worked with the Skirball Foundation to provide grant funding to rebuild /build Free Medical Clinics that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina
  • NAFC established a partnership with Aidmatrix to provide donated produced to Free Clinics

 

2007

  • NAFC hired its first full time Executive Director
  • NAFC expanded operations to include partners such as Henry Schein Medical, AmeriCares, Invacare Supply Group, AstraZeneca, VitaminAngels and Direct Relief International to provide donated and discounted supplies to Free Clinics.
  • NAFC and Aidmatrix were recognized by The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and won the 2007 Supply Chain Innovation Award.

 

2008

  • NAFC established its first headquarter office in Alexandria, VA
  • NAFC established its first expanded web presence and resource library for members www.freeclinics.us
  • NAFC developed new Association logo
  • NAFC established a definition for "What is a Free Clinic?"

 

2009

  • NAFC partnered with Dr. Oz to hold a one Day Health Clinic in Houston Texas
  • NAFC Featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC to discuss the importance of Free Clinics and their role as members of the safety net caring for the uninsured
  • NAFC added an additional staff member
  • NAFC held three more Large Scale Free Health Clinics in Little Rock Arkansas, New Orleans Louisiana and Kansas City Missouri.
  • NAFC participated in a briefing on Capitol Hill about Free Clinics, our history, our vision and our lack of coverage in any of the pieced of legislation.
  • Association featured in USAToday article “Free Clinics Fill Medical Void”

 

2010

  • NAFC Executive Director invited to be a member of the faculty for the National Congress on the Uninsured to discuss Free Clinics and our role after Health Care Reform
  • Association Featured in Parade Magazine in an article entitled “The Nation's Biggest Free Clinic”
  • Association featured in The Fiscal Times article “Free Health Clinics: America's Best-Kept Secret?”
  • NAFC provided the Congressional Research Service information on Free Clinics and what we do on a daily basis to be given to Congressional Offices when they ask health care reform questions
  • Increased NAFC’s discounted product line from 35,000 items to 293,000 discounted items through Henry Schein, Bionime, Tri-State Distribution and Invacare supply group
  • NAFC added additional staff member
  • Association received the Crystal Award from the West Virginia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for Special Event or Observances 7 days or Less
  • Held C.A.R.E. Clinics in Charlotte, North Carolina and New Orleans, Louisiana

 

2011

  • NAFC Executive Director was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Negotiated Rule Making Committee for Medically Underserved and Health Professional Shortage Areas
  • Launched the new NAFC website
  • Association accepted to be a member of a policy coalition with Planner Parenthood, Mental Health America, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and National Coalition of STD Directors for HIT inclusion and expansion of our memberships
  • Appointed by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a Technical Expert working with George Washington University on a study that will look at the role of Health Information Technology (HIT) in reducing health disparities, particularly in communities that are underserved and have disproportionate numbers of vulnerable residents.
  • Partnered with Agency on Healthcare and Research and Quality (AHRQ-HRSA) to have a webinar entitled - Delivering Patient-Centered Outcomes Research to the Nation’s Free Clinics - for the public and NAFC members
  • Association featured in FOXNEWS story “ Clinical Demand: Patients flock to free health clinics in down economy”
  • Letter to the Editor in Time Magazine “Free Clinics Aren’t Just for the Unemployed”
  • Held C.A.R.E. Clinics in Tacoma, Washington and New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Officially changed Association’s Name from National Association of Free Clinics to National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

 

2012

  • Published a journal article entitled “the Free Clinic Movement: America’s Best kept health Care Secret” on MedScape
  • Published an editorial entitled “The Need for Health Care is Neither Red nor Blue”
  • Developed and approved an updated Association Strategic Planning process and began developing the NAFC Strategic Plan
  • Increased NAFC’s discounted product line from 35,000 items to 293,000 discounted items through Henry Schein, Bionime, Tri-State Distribution and Invacare supply group
  • Developed a program with WellDyne to offer a prescription card for patients, donors and volunteers that will pay each clinic $1.50 for scripts that are filled.
  • Association featured in radio interview with NPR “Health Care Law Puts Free Clinics At A Crossroads”
  • Held C.A.R.E. Clinics in Dallas, Texas where approximately 1,250 volunteers help to get free medical care to about 1,200 patients

 

2013

  • NAFC Executive Director testified before House Committee on Ways and Means regarding the importance of the Charitable Tax Deduction for member clinics
  • NAFC Executive Director Named to the NonProfit Times 2013 Influence and Power List
  • NAFC and member, the Arlington Free Clinic, featured in Washington Post article “Left behind: Stories from Obamacare’s 31 million uninsured
  • Developed a partnership and multistate $1 million grant program for America’s Free & Charitable Clinics with CVS CAREMARK Charitable Trust
  •  Received the Gold Level Recognition on Guidestar, showing that the NAFC is committed to the highest level of transparency.
  • Held a C.A.R.E. Clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana where approximately 1,000 volunteers helped 900 people get health care.
  • Secured a $50,000 donation through Bassnectar’s “$ per Basshead” campaign.

 

2014

  • NAFC Executive Director published an article entitled “Clinics are still needed, and still in need of support” May 7, 2014 in The Hill
  • Developed a large scale public relations imitative focused on increasing awareness of the Free and Charitable Clinic sectors’ importance as members of the safety net
  • NAFC Executive Director served as the key note speaker at the CBI PAP Conference in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Published a HIPAA guided for Free & Charitable Clinics
  • Increased technical assistance efforts to Free & Charitable Clinics thorough technology
  • NAFC Executive Director selected as a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Administration’s Agency on Health Research and Quality division.
  • Held a C.A.R.E. Clinic in Madison, WI on August 9, 2014

 

2015

  • NAFC CEO received The Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman Excellence in Chief Executive Leadership (EXCEL) Award
  • NAFC established the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards for Health Equity
  • Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson recognizes the outstanding work of Free & Charitable Clinics in the nation, highlighting Grace Medical Home in Orlando, Florida
  • Continued and expanded the partnership and multistate $1 million grant program for America’s Free & Charitable Clinics with CVS CAREMARK Charitable Trust
  • Released the Legal and Operational Guide for America’s Free and Charitable Clinics with the American Health Lawyer’s Association
  • Held a C.A.R.E. Clinic in Kansas City Missouri

 

2016

  • The NAFC and Direct Relief Establish $300,000 Awards Program for Free and Charitable Health Clinics
  • The Wall Street Journal featured the NAFC in article entitled “Pop-Up Health Clinics Fill a Void in Care”
  • Launched a health pledge program, Impact15, today across the country as part of a year-long campaign to honor the association’s 15-year anniversary.
  • NAFC Board receives the 2016 Board Leadership Award from the Center for Non Profit Advancement
  • Continued and expanded the partnership and multistate $1 million grant program for America’s Free & Charitable Clinics with CVS CAREMARK Charitable Trust
  • NAFC Executive Director served as the key note speaker at the CBI PAP Conference in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Held a C.A.R.E. Clinic in Dallas Texas

 

2017

  • NAFC CEO Nicole Lamoureux was a guest on CSPAN Washington Journal and discussed the need for free health clinics in the U.S. and how new tax reform legislation would impact these resources.
  • The NAFC had several successes in public policy efforts including the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program becoming available to Free and Charitable Clinics and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for Free Clinics being protected after the Administration initially cut the program's funding.
  • NAFC received Dental Kits from Oral Bright for Distribution to member organizations.
  • The NAFC presented the Third Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity to Dr. Steve Crane, Volunteer Medical Director of The Free Clinics (TFC) in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
  • The NAFC partnered with Direct Relief to secure a $1.65 million grant program was secured to be administered in 2018 for those organizations impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Irma.
  • NAFC partnered with Direct Relief to distribute $150,000 to member organizations who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
  • The NAFC partnered with the CVS Health Foundation to provide $1 million for NAFC member organizations to address diabetes and hypertension in their communities.
  • The NAFC partnered with Direct Relief and BD to provide $100,000 in grants to members for organizational operations.
  • The NAFC partnered with the Cardinal Health Foundation to provide $30,000 in Care Message technology to member organizations in Ohio.
  • The NAFC partnered with Henry Schein to provide $15,000 in diabetic supplies to member organizations.
  • The NAFC worked with Heart to Heart International and BD (Becton Dickinson) on the Point of Care, Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness (PoCECE) initiative which was awarded to Community Health Services of Union County - Monroe, North Carolina; Downtown Clinic - Laramie, Wyoming; Free Clinic of Franklin County, Inc. - Rocky Mount, Virginia
  • NAFC received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.
  • NAFC received a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
  • NAFC held a successful live educational and training event (Charitable Health Care Symposium) in Colorado with 350 attendees.
  • The NAFC held 20 technical assistance webinars for NAFC members.

 

2018

  • NAFC partnered with Direct Relief to distribute $1.8M in grants to member organizations who were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
  • The NAFC partnered with CVS Health to provide $130,000 in grants for member organizations to address opioid addiction and access to health care.
  • NAFC was an invited guest to the White House Summit on Opioid Abuse.
  • NAFC received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.
  • NAFC received a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
  • NAFC headquarters relocated to a larger office space.
  • NAFC partnered with Americares and Loyola University to launch the Roadmap to Health Equity Program.
  • NAFC held a successful live educational and training event (Charitable Health Care Symposium) in Nevada with 360 attendees.
  • The NAFC, through Federal public policy efforts, protected funding for the Federal Tort Claims Act Free Clinic program which provides our clinics with malpractice insurance, as well as protected funding for the Nurse Loan Repayment Program, the National Health Service Corps, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. 
  • NAFC provided monthly webinars for members that covered topics including Electronic Health Records, Medication Access, Fundraising, Public Policy Updates and more
  • The NAFC partnered with the CVS Health Foundation to award the Safety Net Health Care Champion Awards to Stephanie Garris, Martin Hiller, the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project and the Texas Association of Charitable Clinics
  • The NAFC presented the Third Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity to Angela Settle, Family Nurse Practitioner and Chief Executive Officer of the West Virginia Health Right, Inc.

 

2019

  • NAFC CEO met with Democratic Presidential Candidates Senator Cory Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren to discuss the important role of Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies as members of the Safety Net.
  • NAFC Partnered with Direct Relief to provide $1.4 million in grants to Texas Free and Charitable Clinics for Hurricane Harvey Recovery and Resilience.
  • NAFC continued and expanded the partnership and multistate $1 million grant program for America’s Free & Charitable Clinics with CVS Health Foundation.
  • NAFC continued and expanded the partnership and multistate $125,000 grant program for America’s Free & Charitable Clinics with Direct Relief and BD.
  • NAFC partnered with CVS Health on multi-year $500,000 grant program for Free and Charitable Clinics in Ohio.
  • NAFC committed to a year-long reduction in Emergency Department use Case Study to show how Free and Charitable Clinics are helping hospitals save money.
  • NAFC received the 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
  • NAFC coordinated NAFC Member letter writing campaigns on a range of topics including the Public Charge Rule, appropriations and NAFC policy priorities, SNAP benefits, Civil Rights protections, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law.
  • Held the largest Free and Charitable Clinics live educational and training event (Charitable Health Care Symposium) in Atlanta, Georgia with 475 attendees.
  • The NAFC held 28 Webinars for members in 2019: Membership/Advocacy Updates (5), NAFC Standards (2), Technical Assistance (21)
  • NAFC developed and launched a resource toolkit for members to utilize during the 2020 implementation phase of the NAFC Standards program.
  • The NAFC awarded the 2019 Safety Net Health Care Champion Award to Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for CVS Health and President of the CVS Health Foundation.
  • The NAFC presented the Fourth Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity to Dr. Mary Wirshup, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Community Volunteers in Medicine, PA.

 

2020

  • NAFC partnered with Direct Relief to provide $2 million in grants to member organizations for COVID-19 response.
  • NAFC partnered with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to provide $200,000 in grants to member organizations for COVID-19 response.
  • NAFC partnered with CVS Health and CVS Health Foundation to provide $2 million in grants to expand telehealth services in free and charitable clinics and pharmacies.
  • NAFC partnered with CVS Health to provide COVID-19 testing at 5 sites clinic sites around the country.
  • NAFC partnered with CVS Health on multi-year $500,000 grant program for Free and Charitable Clinics in Ohio.
  • NAFC CEO Nicole Lamoureux was a guest on CSPAN Washington Journal to discuss COVID-19 and the impact on Free and Charitable Clinics and their patients.
  • NAFC CEO Nicole Lamoureux and Board member Dr. Bobby Kapur were guests on the NON-Profit Times Webinar discussing COVID-19 response.
  • NAFC Board made a public statement on George Floyd murder, racism and addressing health disparities and equity.
  • NAFC Launched Membership Quality Standards Program.
  • NAFC received the 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
  • NAFC Featured in CNN, Kaiser Family News, US News and World Report discussing COVID-19 responses.