The San Francisco Free Clinic (SFFC) is a non-profit founded in 1993 by two family physicians. The clinic’s formal mission is two-fold: to provide free medical care for people with no health insurance, and to help train future generations of primary care providers. The clinic places equal focus on these two missions.
Despite the progress that the Affordable Care Act has made, the clinic is actually seeing more patients than ever. These uninsured patients are some of the most underserved and vulnerable patients in our system who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
Today, the uninsured can obtain a variety of primary care and preventive services at the clinic at no cost. If specialty care is needed, patients are referred to their network of volunteer specialists. Those requiring hospitalization or surgery are referred directly to county services.
Since opening in 1994, the clinic has provided more than 100,000 patient visits, with approximately 6,000 in 2016. Medications valued at many millions of dollars have been obtained free of charge for our patients. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of specialty care have been dispensed by the clinic’s volunteers at no cost to the patient.
CVS HEALTH FOUNDATION GRANTEE
The CVS Health Foundation has partnered with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) on a multi-year grant program to increase access to quality care and support the management of chronic disease. Grants are awarded to Free and Charitable Clinics, Charitable Pharmacies and State Associations that are members of the NAFC.
In 2016, the San Francisco Free Clinic was awarded one of these grants, which was in support of the expansion of services through the addition of an evening clinics.
At the San Francisco Free Clinic, the majority of their patients (all of whom are uninsured) work. Recognizing that many of their patients could not attend daytime appointments, the clinic used the NAFC CVS grant to create a once weekly evening clinic that proved to be extremely successful. Not only were they able to increase appointment capacity and accommodate patients who worked during regular business hours, but they also started treating a number of new patients who had never been able to attend daytime appointments. The clinic also focused their evening clinic on patients with chronic disease.
PATIENT SUCCESS STORY
There are numerous patient success stories from evening clinic, but a particular one comes to mind.
A 27-year-old man with a history of Type 1 diabetes came to the SFFC evening clinic as a new patient because he had lost his insurance over 6 months before and was nearly out of insulin. During our standard triage process, we administered a depression screening tool and found a score of severe depression, which we addressed during the initial visit.
He was very motivated to start a multidisciplinary treatment plan, but he worked full-time during the day and could not attend daytime appointments. Over the course of frequent evening clinic follow-up appointments, we were able to start him on an anti-depressant medication and find a sliding-scale evening mental health provider in the community. We tracked his depression score over time, and it improved dramatically. We were also able to monitor his diabetes, obtain insulin, and ultimately – get him re-enrolled into health insurance.
He continues to thrive and tells us how grateful he is for the care he received in evening clinic.
SAN FRANCISCO FREE CLINIC
Address: 4900 California St (at 11th Ave), San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: (415) 750-9894
“Increasing Access to Care” is a spotlight series that takes a look at members of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) that have received grant funding through the CVS Health Foundation. This series will provide general insight into our members, their programs that were supported by this grant funding and the important work they are doing to provide access to care for the medically underserved in their area.
For more information on the CVS Health Foundation NAFC Grant Program, please visit: